Impact of Firefighting Aqueous Film-Forming Foams on Human Cell Proliferation and Cellular Mortality

Abstract

Objective

Evaluate the toxic effects of Aqueous Film-Forming Foams used by firefighters for Class B fire suppression in human-derived kidney cells (HEK-293).

Methods

Three widely used AFFFs were collected from fire departments and were added to HEK-293 cells in various concentrations. Seventy-two hours post-treatment, cellular proliferation and toxicity were examined using commercially available kits.

Results

All AFFFs evaluated induced cellular toxicity and significantly decreased cell proliferation, even when cells were treated with concentrations 10-fold lower than the working concentration used for fire suppression.

Conclusion

Despite the reduced usage of PFAS-containing AFFFs in the firefighter work environment, the evaluated AFFFs demonstrated significantly altered cellular proliferation, while also inducing toxicity, indicating the presence of toxic compounds. Both stronger implementation of PFAS-containing AFFFs restrictions and robust evaluation of fluorine-free and next-generation AFFFs are warranted.

In Brief

Firefighters are routinely exposed to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) through the use of Aqueous Film-Forming Foams (AFFFs) for the suppression of Class B fire, which derive from flammable and combustible liquids, such as gasoline and alcohol. The addition of surfactants and PFAS in the AFFFs allows them to form an aqueous film that can extinguish the fire, while also coating the fuel. As such, AFFFs are often used for fire extinction in airports and military bases.

Exposure to PFAS in the general population may arise from ingestion of contaminated food or water, usage of consumer products containing PFAS, such as non-stick cookware or stain resistant carpets and textiles, and inhalation of PFAS-containing particulate matter. Detection of increased serum PFAS concentrations has been linked to an elevated risk for kidney cancer in humans, and firefighters are known to have increased serum concentrations of certain PFAS after attending training exercises. In the same study it was also observed that the average urinary excretions of 2-butoxyacetic acid (2-BAA) a surfactant often added in AFFFs exceeded the reference limit of the occupationally unexposed population, ranging from 0.5 to 1.4 mmol/mol creatinine.

Furthermore, an increased risk of mortality from kidney cancer has been observed in firefighters compared to the U.S. population. The detrimental health effects of PFAS are exacerbated by their increased half-lives in humans. A recently published study examined the half-lives of short- and long- chained PFAS in the serum of 26 airport employees and observed a wide range of half-lives which was dependent on the length and chemical structure of each substance that was examined. Indicatively, the shortest half-life was described for perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS), while the linear isomer of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) had the longest half-life (average of 44 days and 2.93 years, respectively), findings which are in agreement with other sources in the literature.

One aspect of this phenomenon could be attributed to renal reabsorption, as humans actively transport PFAS in the proximal tubules. A recently published scoping review of 74 epidemiologic, pharmacokinetic, and toxicological studies examined the relationship between PFAS exposure and kidney-related health outcomes. It was observed that exposure to PFAS was associated with lower kidney function, including chronic kidney disease (CKD), and histological abnormalities in the kidneys, as well as alterations in key mechanistic pathways, that can induce oxidative stress, and metabolic changes leading to kidney disease.

The alarming number of studies showcasing the harmful health effects pertaining to PFAS exposure has led to the banning of the production of AFFFs containing highly toxic, long chain PFAS, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) since 2015. However, this regulation is gradually being implemented across states and little is known about the toxicity of the next generation AFFFs. Based on the above, in the present study we evaluate cellular proliferation and toxicity in kidney-derived cells (HEK-293) that were exposed to three widely used AFFFs.

Read full study below

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Organic solvents and Multiple Sclerosis susceptibility

Abstract

Photo of dichloromethane (DCM) as stored by Irish Air Corps in 2015. DCM was banned in the EU in 2012.
Objective

We hypothesize that different sources of lung irritation may contribute to elicit an immune reaction in the lungs and subsequently lead to multiple sclerosis (MS) in people with a genetic susceptibility to the disease. We aimed to investigate the influence of exposure to organic solvents on MS risk, and a potential interaction between organic solvents and MS risk human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes.

Methods

Using a Swedish population-based case-control study (2,042 incident cases of MS and 2,947 controls), participants with different genotypes, smoking habits, and exposures to organic solvents were compared regarding occurrence of MS, by calculating odds ratios with 95% confidence intervals using logistic regression. A potential interaction between exposure to organic solvents and MS risk HLA genes was evaluated by calculating the attributable proportion due to interaction.

Results

Overall, exposure to organic solvents increased the risk of MS (odds ratio 1.5, 95% confidence interval 1.2–1.8, p = 0.0004). Among both ever and never smokers, an interaction between organic solvents, carriage of HLA-DRB1*15, and absence of HLA-A*02 was observed with regard to MS risk, similar to the previously reported gene-environment interaction involving the same MS risk HLA genes and smoke exposure.

Conclusion

The mechanism linking both smoking and exposure to organic solvents to MS risk may involve lung inflammation with a proinflammatory profile. Their interaction with MS risk HLA genes argues for an action of these environmental factors on adaptive immunity, perhaps through activation of autoaggressive cells resident in the lungs subsequently attacking the CNS.

Read full study below

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Anecdotal evidence has been emerging for some time of potential illness clusters at Casement Aerodrome to which Multiple Sclerosis has now been added. We are calling for these potential clusters to be investigated by competent authorities.

Suspected illness clusters currently include.

99 Untimely* deaths recorded in Irish Air Corps toxic chemical exposure tragedy

Untimely* deaths of serving & former Irish Air Corps personnel

  • 99 verified deaths have occurred in total since 1980 
  • 86 of these deaths have occurred since 2000
  • 61 of these deaths have occurred since 2010
Either the rate of death is accelerating or we are missing many deaths from previous decades or possibly both.
 

3 most significant causes of death

  • 42% of deaths are from cancer
  • 27% of deaths are from cardiac issues
  • 15% of deaths are from suicide (at least 15 suicides)

*We record untimely as dying at or before age 66 (civilian pension age), average age of death is 53 years. We are counting deaths from medical reasons & suicide, we are not counting accidental deaths nor murder.

We are not stating that every single death is directly due to chemical exposure but many personnel who did not handle chemicals directly were unknowingly exposed due to close proximity to contaminated work locations.

98 Untimely* deaths recorded in Irish Air Corps toxic chemical exposure tragedy

Untimely* deaths of serving & former Irish Air Corps personnel

  • 98 verified deaths have occurred in total since 1980 
  • 85 of these deaths have occurred since 2000
  • 60 of these deaths have occurred since 2010
Either the rate of death is accelerating or we are missing many deaths from previous decades or possibly both.
 

3 most significant causes of death

  • 41% of deaths are from cancer
  • 28% of deaths are from cardiac issues
  • 15% of deaths are from suicide (at least 15 suicides)

*We record untimely as dying at or before age 66 (civilian pension age), average age of death is 53 years. We are counting deaths from medical reasons & suicide, we are not counting accidental deaths nor murder.

We are not stating that every single death is directly due to chemical exposure but many personnel who did not handle chemicals directly were unknowingly exposed due to close proximity to contaminated work locations.

97 Untimely* deaths recorded in Irish Air Corps toxic chemical exposure tragedy

Untimely* deaths of serving & former Irish Air Corps personnel

  • 97 verified deaths have occurred in total since 1980 
  • 84 of these deaths have occurred since 2000
  • 59 of these deaths have occurred since 2010
Either the rate of death is accelerating or we are missing many deaths from previous decades or possibly both.
 

3 most significant causes of death

  • 40% of deaths are from cancer
  • 27% deaths are from cardiac issues
  • 15% of deaths are from suicide (at least 15 suicides)

*We record untimely as dying at or before age 66 (civilian pension age), average age of death is 53 years. We are counting deaths from medical reasons & suicide, we are not counting accidental deaths nor murder.

We are not stating that every single death is directly due to chemical exposure but many personnel who did not handle chemicals directly were unknowingly exposed due to close proximity to contaminated work locations.

What did the British ever do for us? A fit for purpose solvent extraction system at Irish Air Corps!

The British Royal Flying Corps built a solvent exhaust stack at the now Irish Air Corps airbase at Baldonnel over 100 years ago. This exhaust stack stack featured a powerful fan for safely removing solvent fumes from a degreasing bath.
In the mid 1980s the Air Corps Machine Shop was moved to this location at the front of the ERF (Engine Repair Flight) building. To facilitate this move the “Trike Bath”, a heated trichloroethylene solvent vapour degreaser, was located to a new Non Destructive Testing (NDT) Shop to the rear of Engine Repair Flight (ERF). The 25 foot extractor chimney was replaced with an inadequate 6 inch fan which was ducted through a nearby window. 
Around 2006 an NDT technician in ERF turned yellow from jaundice due to a chemical induced liver injury. After the NDT technician turned yellow the officer in charge of Health & Safety ordered that the Safety Data Register and adverse air quality tests be destroyed.
The ERF building was condemned in September 2007, a fact that was denied in the Dáil by the former Junior Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe TD.
After some serving & former ERF personnel sought their medical files throught their solicitors in early 2008 the building vanished.
#97dead #DelayDenyDie #TCE #Trike

Trichloroethylene used to clean the floors in Irish Air Corps cookhouse!

Every now and again when investigating poor health & untimely deaths of colleagues in the Irish Air Corps at Casement Aerodrome we come across a cluster of unexplained deaths or illness in particular work locations.

Exposures are briefly explained by location below those in RED were unexplained until personnel came forward to highlight misuse of chemicals in these locations.

Apprentice Hostel

Exposure to asbestos was the main problem in the apprentice hostel and it does not appear to have been fully removed until the mid 1990s although some efforts were made to remove the bulk of it in the late 1980s. The 1990s effort used a professional removal service while the late 1980s effort used apprentices without any PPE whatsoever. Persistent black marks on lino or floor tiles would be dealt with by calling to the nearest hangar or workshop to borrow some MEK or Trike

Avionics, ERF & Parachute Shop

Illness & untimely deaths in Avionics Squadron and Engine Repair Flight (Engine Shop) can be explained by unprotected exposure to the chemicals used in both locations and by their exposure to exhaust fumes from the Spray Paint Facility. The Parachute Shop which was part of ERF establishment also used toxic glues and exposed personnel to fumes from PU coated drysuits.

Basic Flight Training School

Illness & untimely deaths in BFTS can be explained by the IRAN inspections where DCM/Phenol paint strippers were used without PPE and the extensive use (like in heli) of corrosion inhibitors like Mastinox. Of course the fuel for the Marchettis was leaded gasoline with its own issues.

Battery Shop

Illness in the battery shop can be explained by exposure to battery electrolytes & charging fumes. The personnel walking around here with holes in their jumper, trousers and shirts from sulphuric acid was almost comical if it wasn’t such a serious risk to their health.

Cookhouse / NCOs Mess

Until now we had not been able to satisfactorily explain the unusual body count & illnesses of personnel who served in the old cookhouse kitchen, new cookhouse kitchen and NCOs Mess kitchen.

Recently we were made aware of a practice in the old cookhouse as far back as the mid 1970s whereby personnel who worked there procured solvent degreaser from up camp. We believe this degreaser again to be trichloroethylene.

This solvent was provided sometimes in 25 litre drums and sometimes in gallon containers where it was usually decanted into smaller vessels like milk bottles or coke bottles to be spread on the floor and then mopped and squeegeed until the floor was spotless.

And it turns out that this practice continued in the new cookhouse and technicians from ERF who dropped down 25 litre drums of Trike were rewarded with a wrap up of some food like steaks.

We believe this floor degreasing practice occurred in the NCOS Mess kitchen but we have no evidence yet that it occurred in the Officers Mess Kitchen but given the fluidity of personnel movements between the various catering locations it is a distinct possibility.

For some information on Illnesses caused by trichloroethylene click here.

Engineering Wing Hangar & Workshops

Illness & untimely deaths in Engineering Wing Hanagar can be explained by unprotected exposure to Paint Shop chemicals including isocyanates & thinners, Hydraulic Shop chemicals, Sheet Metal Shop chemicals, wood dust from the Carpentry Shop, welding fumes from the Welding Shop as well as paint stripper fumes and mastinox fumes from Marchetti IRANs or Alouette equivalent teardowns.

Fire Crew

Members of the fire crew would have had exposure to exhaust gasses of idling aircraft engines and would have also had exposure to fuel fumes  and burning fumes from training exercises. The Fire Crew also used PFAS based fire fighting foams.

Heli Wing

Illness & untimely deaths in Heli Wing are easily explained by unprotected exposure to the chemicals used maintaining helicopters, by exposure to fuel vapours from gravity refueling, exposure to exhaust gasses from gas turbine engines and the immune sensitisation capabilities of polyurethane coated immersion suits.  Toxic tubbing in Heli was also a thing.

Light Strike Squadron

Similarly illness & untimely deaths in Light Strike Squadron can be explained by unprotected exposure to refueling fumes, exhaust gasses and other lubricants, greases, hydraulic fluids and sealants used to maintain the Fougas. Toxic tubbing in LSS was also a thing.

Main Block

Illness & untimely deaths in the Main block can be explained by unprotected exposure to photographic film & printing chemicals. These photographic chemicals used in photo section drove death, illness & harm to offspring in personnel throughout the main block

Chemicals in use by workshops in Air Sp Coy Signals further exposed personnel in the mainblock to chemicals they would not have expected to be exposed to like trichloroethane etc.

Units exposed in the main block would include 

  • Admin Wing HQ
  • AE Section
  • Drawing Office
  • Air Corps INT
  • Medical Aid Post
  • Sgt Majors Office
  • Signals Bottom Workshop
  • Signals Top Workshop
  • Signals COMCEN
  • Signals Orderly Room & CO’s Office
  • Signals PC Maintenance Workshop
  • Signals Stores
  • Station Commanders Office

Main Tech Stores

Illness & untimely deaths in Main Technical stores can be explained by the fact that the building is sited on the old Camp Stables where hundreds if not thousands of litres of toxic chemicals such as Ardrox 666 were dumped into the ground. Complaints were made by civilian & military personnel about poor air quality  in MTS and studies were carried out but the reports have disappeared. There is also evidence that used chemical drums containing isocyanates were stored in MTS in an open state.

Photo Section

When photo section moved out of the Main Block to the old cookhouse in the early 1990s they brought their dangerous chemicals to this new locations. This new location was better equipped than the expellair in the main block. But faulty equipment and lack of chemical health & safety training meant illness & death continued.

Photographers who flew regularly exposure to refueling fumes, exhaust gasses from gas turbine engines and the immune sensitisation capabilities of polyurethane coated immersion suits.

Refuelers

Obviously refuelers were exposed on an ongoing basis to high amounts of refueling fumes and aircraft exhaust gasses but also to other dangerous additives like FSII.

Training Depot

On at least two occasions that we are aware of there was catastrophic damage caused to floors and walls by misuse of chemicals in ACTD.

On the first occasion in the late 1980s we are aware of a recruit using what we suspect to be a large quantity of MEK on twine backed traditional lino the last room on the left of the depot. The use of the chemical on this occasion melted the lino through to the twine backing.

On the second occasion in the mid 1990s at least 25 litres of trichloroethylene was used to clean the floor of some of the demonstration rooms that had been recently redecorated. The Trike was spread on the floor using mops and squeegees making the apprentices carrying out the job high. The next morning it was discovered that all the floor tiles had shriveled up and that all the paint on the walls up to about 1m had dissolved and flowed down the walls to the floor.

For some information on Illnesses caused by MEK click here.

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The physical layout of Baldonne means that the prevailing wind blows the exhaust gasses from idling aircraft over the whole camp.

There does not appear to have been any initiative whatsoever to reduce camp personnel exposure to exhaust gasses and in many cases aircraft exhaust into hangars due to the prevailing wind.

We have little information on chemical exposures at Gormanston except for tubbing and the use of JetA1 powered heaters inside hangars. We would welcome any information in this regards. 

Taking the Irish Air Corps a stage further in their Jet fuel toxic hazard knowledge!

The below post is taken from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)  which is a part of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

This Public Health Statement is the summary chapter from the Toxicological Profile for JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A fuels. It is one in a series of Public Health Statements about hazardous substances and their health effects.

A shorter version, the ToxFAQs™, is also available. This information is important because this substance may harm you.

The effects of exposure to any hazardous substance depend on the dose, the duration, how you are exposed, personal traits and habits, and whether other chemicals are present.

Some workers may be exposed to JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A fuels through their skin if they come into contact with them without adequate protection from gloves, boots, coveralls, or other protective clothing.

This Public Health Statement summarizes the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s findings on JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A fuels, tells you about them, the effects of exposure, and describes what you can do to limit that exposure.

If you are exposed to JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A fuels, many factors determine whether you’ll be harmed. These include how much you are exposed to (dose), how long you are exposed to it (duration), and how you are exposed (route of exposure). You must also consider the other chemicals you are exposed to and your age, sex, diet, family traits, lifestyle, and state of health.

What are JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A fuels?

JP-5 and JP-8 stand for jet propellant-5 and jet propellant-8. Propellants are substances that move other objects or give thrust. JP-5 and JP-8 are used as military aircraft fuels. They can also be used for fueling land vehicles and as a fuel source for heaters and lights.

Jet A is the type of fuel used in civilian aircraft; however, the U.S. Air Force has recently started using Jet A (plus certain additives) for flying in the continental United States. JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A fuels are colorless liquids that are flammable and smell like kerosene. The fuels are made from chemical compounds called hydrocarbons, which are found naturally in the earth as crude oil. Hydrocarbons are compounds that contain only carbon and hydrogen. The crude oil is refined into a number of different types of fuel.

Jet A, JP-5, and JP-8 fuels may also contain various additives such as antioxidants and additives to prevent icing in the fuel lines.

What happens to JP-5, JP-8 and Jet A fuels when they enter the environment?

JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A fuels are made up of hundreds of hydrocarbon compounds; many of these hydrocarbons are also present in gasoline. These hydrocarbons can be grouped into several classes of chemicals which have similar chemical properties. The different chemical classes can behave differently when they enter the environment.

For example, some of these can easily evaporate into the air during aircraft loading and unloading operations or as a result of their normal use as a jet fuel for civilian or military aircraft. Some may also evaporate when jet fuels are spilled accidentally onto soils or surface waters. Other chemical classes are more likely to dissolve in water following spills to surface waters or leaks from underground storage tanks. Some chemical classes found in jet fuels may slowly move down through the soil to the groundwater, while others may readily attach to particles in the soil or water. Once attached in water, these particles may sink down into the sediment.

The chemicals that evaporate may break down into other substances in air by reacting with sunlight or other chemicals in the air. The chemicals that dissolve in water may also be broken down into other substances by microorganisms found in water and sediment. However, this may take many years to occur, depending on the environmental conditions. Some chemicals that attach to soil or other matter (for example, marsh sediment) may remain in the environment for more than a decade.

Some of the chemicals in jet fuels may be detected in fish and aquatic organisms after an accidental release into a lake, river, or stream. These hydrocarbons are not expected to persist in aquatic organisms.

How might I be exposed to JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A fuels?

It is unlikely that you will be exposed to JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A fuels unless you work with jet fuels or live very close to where they are used or were spilled.

Exposure to jet fuels can occur if you have skin contact with soil or water contaminated from a spill or leak. You may also be exposed to JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A fuels if you swim in waters where jet fuels have been spilled. If jet fuels have leaked from underground storage tanks and entered groundwater, you may be exposed from contaminated well water. You might breathe in some of the chemicals evaporating from a spill or leak site if you are in an area where an accident has occurred.

Workers involved in making or transporting jet fuels, aircraft or fuel tank maintenance, or in refueling aircraft that use JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A fuels may be exposed to some of the chemicals that have evaporated from the fuel.

Workers in the vicinity of an aircraft during cold engine startup may also be exposed to airborne jet fuels.

Some workers may be exposed to JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A fuels through their skin if they come into contact with them without adequate protection from gloves, boots, coveralls, or other protective clothing.

How can JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A fuels enter and leave my body?

The chemicals in JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A fuels can enter your body through your lungs, digestive tract, or skin. We do not have information on how much of the chemicals in JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A fuels can pass into the bloodstream, but we do know that large amounts of some of the chemicals in jet fuels can easily do so.

Studies examining the absorption of jet fuels through the skin have shown that damage to the skin and the longer jet fuels stays on your skin will increase the amount of chemicals that will enter your body.

Once jet fuels enter your body, the chemicals in the fuel will be distributed throughout your body. A number of the chemicals in jet fuels were found in the blood, fat, brain, lungs, and liver following exposure to JP-8 in air.

Some of the chemicals in JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A fuels will be broken down in the body to form other chemicals. The chemicals in JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A fuels will be eliminated from the body in the urine, feces, or breath.

How JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A fuels affect your health?

The health effects of JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A fuels depend on how much of these fuels you are exposed to and for how long.

We know very little about the human health effects caused by JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A fuels. A few studies of military personnel have provided suggestive evidence that JP-8 can affect the nervous system. Some of the effects that have been observed in humans include changes in reaction time and other tests of neurological function.

Humans who accidentally ingested kerosene, a fuel oil similar in composition to JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A fuels, were reported as suffering harmful effects on the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and nervous system. The observed effects included cough and difficulty breathing, abdominal pain and vomiting, drowsiness, restlessness, and convulsions.

Studies in laboratory animals have examined the toxicity of JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A fuels following inhalation, ingestion, or dermal contact. In most cases, the levels tested in laboratory animals are higher than levels the public might encounter through dermal contact with contaminated water or soil or by drinking contaminated water.

Health effects of JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A fuels observed in these studies include damage to the liver, decreased immune response, impaired performance on neurological function tests, and impaired hearing.

Dermatitis and damage to the skin have also been observed in laboratory animals following dermal contact.

There are no reliable studies of cancer in humans exposed to JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A fuels. A few studies that examined the possible association between exposure to various types of jet fuels or to kerosene and various types of cancer did not provide conclusive results. Because the studies involved exposure to several fuel types and there was no information on exposure concentrations, these studies were not considered adequate to assess the carcinogenicity of JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A fuels.

No inhalation or oral studies evaluated the carcinogenicity of JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A. No increases in tumor incidences were observed in rats administered kerosene by a feeding tube for 2 years. JP-5 applied to the skin for 2 years was not carcinogenic in mice. Increases in skin tumors were observed in mice dermally exposed to Jet A for 52–62 weeks; however, tumors were only observed at concentrations resulting in damage to the skin. Similarly, increased numbers of skin tumors were observed in mice that received applications of undiluted kerosene on the skin for 2 years, but this occurred only in the presence of skin damage.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the EPA have not classified JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A fuels as to their carcinogenicity.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A as Group 3 carcinogens (not classifiable as to their carcinogenicity to humans).

How can JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A fuels affect children?

Exposure JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A fuels mainly occurs in occupational settings where children are unlikely to be exposed. No studies examining the health effects of JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A fuels in children were found. There are a number of reports of accidental kerosene ingestion in children in developing countries where kerosene may typically be stored in containers and places easily accessible to children. Some of the more commonly reported effects include coughing, pneumonia, shortness of breath, vomiting, fever, unconsciousness, drowsiness, and irritability. These effects are similar to the effects seen in adults who ingest kerosene.

Studies in laboratory animals exposed to JP-8 during pregnancy did not find birth defects in the newborn animals. However, some effects on muscle coordination and immune function were found in the offspring.

How can families reduce the risk of exposure to JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A fuels?

If your doctor finds that you have been exposed to significant amounts of JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A fuels, ask whether your children or unborn baby might be at risk. Your doctor might need to ask your state health department to investigate. It is unlikely that you or your family will be exposed to JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A fuels. Jet fuels are not likely to be common contaminants in foods or drinking water.

If you get JP-5, JP-8, or Jet A fuels on your work clothes, you should change your clothes before leaving your job and returning home.

Are there medical tests to determine whether I have been exposed to JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A fuels?

Many of the individual chemicals found in JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A fuels and their breakdown products (metabolites) can be measured in blood and urine. Finding these chemicals does not mean that you were exposed to jet fuels because these chemicals may have come from a different source including exposure to gasoline fumes when pumping gas. The levels of these chemicals in your body cannot predict the kind of health effects that might occur or whether you will have any effects. JP-5, JP-8, and Jet A fuels and their metabolites leave the body fairly rapidly and tests to detect these chemicals need to be conducted within days of exposure.

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It is pretty clear from reading interactions between Air Corps personnel and the Air Corps Formation Safety Office that the risk of injury from inhalation and absorption of jet fuel simply is not understood.

The consequence of this is that the actual risks are downplayed with risk assessments for fuel handling operations being declared as “Low Risk”. Risk assessments that are declared to be “Low Risk” are great for the FSO because they mean no further steps need to be taken.

A risk assessment completed by a suitably qualified person with the correct vigor will take into account the need for adequate PPE and also the need for risk specific health surveillance. 

DELAY – DENY – DIE

Immunotoxicology of JP-8 Jet Fuel

Abstract

Chronic jet fuel exposure could be detrimental to Air Force personnel, not only by adversely affecting their work performance but also by predisposing these individuals to increased incidences of infectious disease and cancer.

Chronic exposure to jet fuel has been shown to adversely affect human liver function, to cause emotional dysfunction, to cause abnormal electroencephalograms, to cause shortened attention spans, and to decrease sensorimotor speed.

Currently, there are no standards for personnel exposure to jet fuels of any kind, let alone JP-8 jet fuel. Kerosene based petroleum distillates have been associated with hepatic, renal, neurologic and pulmonary toxicity in animals models and human occupational exposures. The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that over 1.3 million workers were exposed to jet fuels in 1992. Thus, jet fuel exposure may not only have serious consequences for USAF personnel, but also may have potential harmful effects upon a significant number of civilian workers.

Short-term 7 day JP-8 jet fuel exposure causes lung injury as evidenced by increased pulmonary resistance, a decrease in bronchoalveolar lavage concentrations of substance P, increased wet lung body weight ratio, and increased alveolar permeability. Long-term exposures, although demonstrating evidence of lung recovery, results in injury to secondary organs such as liver, kidneys and spleen.

Read full report at the US Defence Technical Information Centre here.

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The Irish Air Corps uses JetA1 with added fuel system icing inhibitor (FSII) which while being very similar to JP-8, is not identical as it is lacking some additives used in very high performance military engines.

But is very similar and almost all the health concerns related to JP-8 would be common to JetA1.

The Formation Safety Office at the Irish Air Corps believe refueling to be a “low risk” activity yet it appears to be driving IBS/ IBD havoc amongst personnel in Baldonnel who handle fuel. 

DELAY – DENY – DIE

Fourth study of mortality and cancer incidence in aircraft maintenance personnel: a continuing study of F1-11 Deseal/Reseal personnel 2016

Summary

From 1974 to 2000, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) put in place formal Deseal/Reseal (DSRS) programs, in addition to informal repair methods, to correct fuel leaks in Australia’s F-111 fleet of aircraft. These programs were undertaken at RAAF Base Amberley in Queensland, and were suspended in early 2000 due to health concerns among DSRS personnel. A series of inquiries, investigations and scientific studies were commenced to determine the extent and impact of those health concerns.

As part of those investigations, the Mortality and Cancer Incidence Study (MCIS) was started to answer the following research question: did RAAF personnel involved either directly or indirectly in the F-111 DSRS maintenance programs (the DSRS-exposed Study Population) experience higher levels of mortality or cancer incidence compared with two groups of non-exposed RAAF personnel (the Comparison populations)—the RAAF Base Amberley (non-technical) Comparison Population and the RAAF Base Richmond (technical) Comparison Population?

Key findings

The results of the 4th MCIS show that involvement in the DSRS programs at RAAF Base Amberley was associated with a statistically significant 20–30% increase in the rate of cancer diagnosis, compared with both Comparison populations.

Involvement in the DSRS programs was also associated with a statistically significant 27% decrease in mortality compared with the Amberley Comparison Population.

Download the full study below.

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The key takeaway here is that a statistically significant 20-30% increase in cancer was turned into 27% lower mortality by awareness, vigilance and a coordinated medical response. 

  • Medical treatment for a range of conditions
  • Counselling through Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling;
  • Participation in Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling coordinated programs, including the Lifestyle Management Course and Heart Health;
  • Eligibility to participate in the Better Health Program – a cancer screening and disease prevention program; and
  • approved travel to attend medical consultations and counselling sessions and healthy lifestyle programs through Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling.

The policy of successive Taoisigh, Tánaistí, Ministers for Defence, Chiefs of Staff and Director Generals of the Department of Defence was, and appears still to be, to let personnel suffer and die unnecessarily without any targeted intervention whatsoever by the state. 

DELAY – DENY – DIE