Induced sputum assessment in New York City firefighters exposed to World Trade Center dust

Elizabeth M. Fireman, Yehuda Lerman, Eliezer Ganor, Joel Greif, Sharon Fireman-Shoresh, Paul J. Lioy, Gisela I. Banauch, Michael Weiden, Kerry J. Kelly, David J. Prezant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

98 Scopus citations

Abstract

New York City Firefighters (FDNY-FFs) were exposed to particulate matter and combustion/pyrolysis products during and after the World Trade Center (WTC) collapse. Ten months after the collapse, induced sputum (IS) samples were obtained from 39 highly exposed FDNY-FFs (caught in the dust cloud during the collapse on 11 September 2001) and compared to controls to determine whether a unique pattern of inflammation and particulate matter deposition, compatible with WTC dust, was present. Control subjects were 12 Tel-Aviv, Israel, firefighters (TA-FFs) and 8 Israel healthcare workers who were not exposed to WTC dust. All controls volunteered for this study, had never smoked, and did not have respiratory illness. IS was processed by conventional methods. Retrieved cells were differentially counted, and metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), particle size distribution (PSD), and mineral composition were measured. Differential cell counts of FDNY-FF IS differed from those of health care worker controls (p < 0.05) but not from those of TA-FFs. Percentages of neutrophils and eosinophils increased with greater intensity of WTC exposure (< 10 workdays or ≥ 10 workdays; neutrophils p = 0.046; eosinophils p = 0.038). MMP-9 levels positively correlated to neutrophil counts (p = 0.002; r = 0.449). Particles were larger and more irregularly shaped in FDNY-FFs (1-50 μm; zinc, mercury, gold, tin, silver) than in TA-FFs (1-10 μm; silica, clays). PSD was similar to that of WTC dust samples. In conclusion, IS from highly exposed FDNY-FFs demonstrated inflammation, PSD, and particle composition that was different from nonexposed controls and consistent with WTC dust exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1564-1569
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Volume112
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2004

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Firefighters
  • Inflammation
  • Inhalation exposure
  • Particulates
  • Sputum
  • World Trade Center

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

Cite this