Evaluation of fireground exposures using urinary PAH metabolites

Christiane Hoppe-Jones, Stephanie C. Griffin, John J. Gulotta, Darin D. Wallentine, Paul K. Moore, Shawn C. Beitel, Leanne M. Flahr, Jing Zhai, Jin J. Zhou, Sally R. Littau, Devi Dearmon-Moore, Alesia M. Jung, Fernanda Garavito, Shane A. Snyder, Jefferey L. Burgess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Firefighters have increased cancer incidence and mortality rates compared to the general population, and are exposed to multiple products of combustion including known and suspected carcinogens. Objective: The study objective was to quantify fire response exposures by role and self-reported exposure risks. Methods: Urinary hydroxylated metabolites of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH-OHs) were measured at baseline and 2–4 h after structural fires and post-fire surveys were collected. Results: Baseline urine samples were collected from 242 firefighters. Of these, 141 responded to at least one of 15 structural fires and provided a post-fire urine. Compared with baseline measurements, the mean fold change of post-fire urinary PAH-OHs increased similarly across roles, including captains (2.05 (95% CI 1.59–2.65)), engineers (2.10 (95% CI 1.47–3.05)), firefighters (2.83 (95% CI 2.14–3.71)), and paramedics (1.84 (95% CI 1.33–2.60)). Interior responses, smoke odor on skin, and lack of recent laundering or changing of hoods were significantly associated with increased post-fire urinary PAH-OHs. Significance: Ambient smoke from the fire represents an exposure hazard for all individuals on the fireground; engineers and paramedics in particular may not be aware of the extent of their exposure. Post-fire surveys identified specific risks associated with increased exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)913-922
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Cancer
  • Dermal exposure
  • Inhalation exposure
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Vulnerable occupations
  • Workplace exposures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluation of fireground exposures using urinary PAH metabolites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this