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Impact of Work Task-Related Acute Occupational Smoke Exposures on Select Proinflammatory Immune Parameters in Wildland Firefighters

Adetona, Anna M. PhD; Adetona, Olorunfemi PhD; Gogal, Robert M. Jr DVM; Diaz-Sanchez, David PhD; Rathbun, Stephen L. PhD; Naeher, Luke P. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: July 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 7 - p 679–690
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001053

Objective: A repeated measures study was used to assess the effect of work tasks on select proinflammatory biomarkers in firefighters working at prescribed burns.

Methods: Ten firefighters and two volunteers were monitored for particulate matter and carbon monoxide on workdays, January to July 2015. Before and after workshift dried blood spots were analyzed for inflammatory mediators using the Meso Scale Discovery assay, while blood smears were used to assess leukocyte parameters.

Results: Firefighters lighting with drip-torches had higher cross-work-shift increases in interleukin-8, C-reactive protein, and serum amyloid A compared with holding, a task involving management of fire boundaries. A positive association between interleukin-8 and segmented-neutrophil was observed.

Conclusion: Results from this study suggest that intermittent occupational diesel exposures contribute to cross-work-shift changes in host systemic innate inflammation as indicated by elevated interleukin-8 levels and peripheral blood segmented-neutrophils.

Department of Environmental Health Science (Dr A Adetona, Dr O Adetona, Dr Naeher); Division of Environmental Health Sciences, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio (Dr O Adetona); Department of Veterinary Biosciences and Diagnostic Imaging, College of Veterinary Medicine (Dr Gogal); The United States Environmental Protection Agency, Environmental Public Health Division, Clinical Research Branch, North Carolina (Dr Diaz-Sanchez); and Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (Dr Rathbun), College of Public Health, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.

Address correspondence to: Luke P. Naeher, PhD, Department of Environmental Health Science, College of Public Health, University of Georgia, 206 Environmental Health Science Building, Athens, GA 30602–2102 (

Disclaimer: The article has been reviewed and approved for publication by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Approval does not signify that the contents necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Agency.

Funding and support is by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health Education Research Center (NIOSH/ERC) Small Project/Pilot Study Grants via the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) (Grant no.: 5T42OH008436–10) and the Interdisciplinary Toxicology Program at the University of Georgia.

Conflict of Interest: none declared.

Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine