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Firefighters’ chronic lung issues may result from smoke damage

On Behalf of | Dec 31, 2021 | Workplace Injuries |

As a Nebraska firefighter, burns, strains and sprains are among the most common injuries, you and your team handle as part of your job. In most cases, you can identify the injury site immediately. Unfortunately, not all damage is obvious.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than 60,000 firefighter injuries occurred in the line of duty in 2019. More than one-third occurred at the site of the fire. However, thousands resulted from exposure to hazardous chemicals and small particles in the smoke.

Chemicals and particulates

Agriculture is a tradition in Nebraska, from Great Northern beans to corn, potatoes and wheat. Modern farming methods often use chemicals for treating pests, and fertilizer may contain ammonium nitrate and agricultural anhydrous ammonium. Storing, mixing and blending these chemicals are often hazardous.

Meatpacking and industrial plants often use hazardous chemicals such as ammonia and carbon dioxide. Incidents that result in chemical fires and explosions might expose you to toxic gases.

Particle pollution is a mix of tiny liquid and solid particulates in the air. They can enter the lungs and become lodged there if you breathe them.

Lung health effects

Toxic agents have the potential to cause chronic issues. They typically include the following:

  • Benzene
  • Asbestos
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Hydrogen cyanide

Asthma, allergies, autoimmune and constrictive diseases might result from inhaling the smoke near burning buildings or fields.

Lung cancer and COPD are among the conditions that may occur due to frequent exposure to chemicals and smoke particulates. They might result in catastrophic injuries that prevent you from working. If you suffered a workplace injury, understanding your options is critical to ensuring you get the care and compensation you need.