Pulmonary function in Portuguese firefighters

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INTRODUCTION Portugal has had a high rate of forest fires in recent years. Inhaled wood smoke can have short- and long-term effects on the lung function of people exposed to it. STUDY OBJECTIVES To assess the lung function of active wildland (forest) firefighters. METHODS Cross-sectional study. A self-questionnaire on personal and work habits was used and spirometry values were obtained using Piko-6 for a 209 people sample. RESULTS We found a high rate of smoking (42.9%) and an 11.8% prevalence of obstruction. 41.7% of the obstructed individuals were non-smokers, did not state a knowledge of any respiratory disease, engaged in no other activity that could be related to lung function decrease and did not wear airway protection apparatus. 85.7% did not use any airway protection apparatus when firefighting due to lack of such equipment in their brigades. CONCLUSIONS Data showed that there is a high pre- valence of smoking habits in this sample of Portuguese firefighters; there is an unsatisfactory usage of airway protection apparatus and the prevalence of airway obstruction is higher than the COPD prevalence in the Portuguese population. We recommend stopping smoking and use of equipment for respiratory protection.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)349-64
JournalRevista Portuguesa de Pneumologia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007

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