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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


CARBALLO LEYENDA, Belén et al. Exposure to Carbon Monoxide in Wildland Firefighters during Wildfires Suppression. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2010, vol.84, n.6, pp.799-807. ISSN 2173-9110.

Background: Health and occupational performance in wildland firefighters are mainly impaired for the carbon monoxide inhalation. Therefore, the aim of this study was to analyze the personal exposure to carbon monoxide in wildland firefighters during wildfires suppression. Methods: Carbon monoxide exposure was monitorized in 44 subjects during 58 real wildfires. Moreover, we analyzed the time weighted average exposure for an 8h shift (VA-ED). The wildfires were classified according to the work done (direct attack, indirect attack and mixed attack) and the current fuel (grass, bush, understory and mixed). Results: The mean exposure to carbon monoxide was of 18,4±1,7 ppm, what supposed a VA-ED of 7,0±1,0 ppm. The highest exposures to carbon monoxide were found during the mixed attack (20,4±2,3 ppm) and direct attack (17,5±2,7 ppm). We only obtained significant differences (p<0.05) between bush (19,8±2,2) and understory (17,2±3,9) and grass (12,0±5,6). Conclusions: Exposures to carbon monoxide were influenced for the work done during the wildfires suppression and the type of fuel involved. Mean values obtained in this study were within safety limits described by different Spanish (INSHT) and international (NIOSH, OSHA) occupational safety and health agencies.

Keywords : Carbon monoxide; Fire. Wildfire; Occupational exposure; Occupational health; Types of Fire.

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