Occupational Asthma Reference
Young I, Jackson J, West S,
Chronic respiratory disease and respiratory function in a group of fire fighters,
Med J Aust,
Keywords: oa, fireman, ep, cross sectional, ob, sm
A sample of 193 subjects drawn from the New South Wales Fire Brigade was studied to examine the prevalence of chronic respiratory disease and impairment of respiratory function. The prevalence of respiratory disease was less than that reported in other groups of firemen and reflects the lower level of occupational exposure, and possibly a survivor effect, within the New South Wales Fire Brigade. Among recent recruits, the effects of cigarette smoking far outweighed any contribution from occupational exposure. Among firemen with 20 years or more service a twofold increase in the prevalence of chronic bronchitis is considered to result from the additive effects of cigarette smoking and the high occupational smoke exposures consequent to the availability of respiratory protection and earlier attitudes to its use. The increasingly toxic nature of combustion products at fires was not accompanied by a discernible increase in the prevalence of chronic respiratory disease or impairment of respiratory function. The major combustion products responsible for respiratory damage were self-administered, arising from burning tobacco rather than from burning buildings.
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