OBJECTIVE: To assess California firefighters' blood concentrations of selected chemicals and compare with a representative US population.
METHODS: We report laboratory methods and analytic results for cadmium, lead, mercury, and manganese in whole blood and 12 serum perfluorinated chemicals in a sample of 101 Southern California firefighters.
RESULTS: Firefighters' blood metal concentrations were all similar to or lower than the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) values, except for six participants whose mercury concentrations (range: 9.79 to 13.42 μg/L) were close to or higher than the NHANES reporting threshold of 10 μg/L. Perfluorodecanoic acid concentrations were elevated compared with NHANES and other firefighter studies.
CONCLUSIONS: Perfluorodecanoic acid concentrations were three times higher in this firefighter group than in NHANES adult males. Firefighters may have unidentified sources of occupational exposure to perfluorinated chemicals.