Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon Absorption and Permeability of Firefighter Hoods




Deitz, Ryan

Access rights

Worldwide access

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Firefighters face more dangers than fire and smoke. Their equipment is designed to protect them from the immediate operational hazards, but many firefighters will develop chronic illnesses such as cancer. Exposure to toxic chemical substances originating from fires affects the lives of firefighters internationally every year. One common group of potential carcinogens present in fire is polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). Studies regarding PAH contamination in firefighters after missions highlight the neck as a potential hotspot for dermal absorption. In firefighter gear, the hood is the component which best protects the neck. This thesis scrutinizes a standard Ara-Tek FR™ Tri-Blend Hood’s ability to absorb PAHs from smoke by filtering smoke simultaneously through a hood filter and a control hoodless filter. To collect contaminants, smoke was bubbled into water and subsequently extracted through solid phase extraction (SPE) cartridges. Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) was used to separate and identify sample compounds. None of the chromatogram peaks in the control and filtered samples matched those in the PAH standard, however other chemicals of concern were identified. This preliminary experiment provided data that suggests further research on materials and methods for evaluating firefighter hood effectiveness to block chemical contaminants.



Firefighter., Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons., Cancer., Smoke.