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Flame Retardants in Air and on PPE During Firefighting Journal Article Published
Gavin Horn
May 12, 2020

New peer-reviewed journal article published in Environment International.

The “Flame Retardants, Dioxins, and Furans in Air and On Firefighters’ Protective Ensembles During Controlled Residential Firefighting” peer-reviewed journal article, led by Kenny Fent from the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) with contributions by Gavin Horn and Steve Kerber from UL FSRI was recently published in Environment International. The paper summarizes airborne and personal protective equipment (PPE) contamination levels measured after controlled residential fire attack, and provides an evaluation of measures firefighters may implement to control cross contamination.

The purpose of this study was to characterize airborne and PPE surface contamination levels of flame retardants (FRs), dioxins, and furans during controlled realistic residential fire responses. The study was designed to explore the effectiveness of gross on-scene decontamination (i.e., preliminary exposure reduction) at removing different types of FRs from turnout gear. The goal was to provide decision makers in the fire service with practical information to better understand and reduce firefighters’ exposures to these compounds, which in turn, may also reduce the potential for adverse health effects.

This manuscript is derived from the IFSI/UL FSRI/NIOSH Fireground Study, a component of the Cardiovascular & Chemical Exposure Risks in Today’s Fire Service project. Samples were collected during these experiments to address fire service questions regarding chemical exposure risk including flame retardants, dioxins, and furans.

UL FSRI partnered with NIOSH, IFSI Research, Skidmore College, and William & Mary to publish this manuscript. Funding for this project was provided by the Department of Homeland Security Fire Prevention and Safety Grant #EMW-2013-FP-00766 & #EMW-2016-FP-00379.


About Environment International:

Beginning in 2019, Environment International became an open access journal and further expanded its scope into new areas of research to become a multi-disciplinary journal publishing high quality and novel information within the broad field of Environmental Sciences.

Coverage includes, but is not limited to, the following research topics:

  • Public Health and Health Impact Assessment, Environmental Epidemiology (Prof. Mark Nieuwenhuijsen)
  • Environmental Health and Risk Assessment, Environmental Chemistry (Prof. Adrian Covaci)
  • Environmental Monitoring and Processes, Environmental Microbiology and Toxicology (Prof. Yong-Guan Zhu)
  • Environmental Technology (Prof. Zhen Jason He)
UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute is dedicated to increasing firefighter knowledge to reduce injuries and deaths in the fire service and in the communities they serve.