Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Protecting Emergency Responders from Occupational Exposure Risks to Fentanyl and Other Hazardous Substances

Source: Cochrane & Associates, LLC

Clark Seif Clark provides industrial hygiene testing, consulting and training services to identify and mitigate chemical and biological hazards in the workplace.

Chatsworth, CA, August 1st, 2019 -- Several months back, WUSF in Tampa published a story about a deputy from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office that passed out after exposure to suspected airborne fentanyl. The event occurred during a traffic stop when the car’s occupants tried to hide a white powder. Two responding firefighters also became ill as did one of the people in the car that was pulled over.

 

Due to cases like this that are increasingly putting emergency responders at risk, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recently published information specifically aimed at emergency responders. Illicit Drugs, Including Fentanyl – Preventing Occupational Exposure to Emergency Responders is a 13+ minute video that was produced with the police and fire departments from Fredericksburg, Virginia. The video highlights another case where emergency responders encountered fentanyl and had a similar outcome to the emergency responders from Lake County, Florida. It also offers important information about safe work practices to protect against coming into contact with fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

 

“According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is incredibly potent,” said Zahid Iqbal, MPH, CIH and Technical Director at Clark Seif Clark (CSC). “In fact, the DEA says it’s 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine, and it, along with other synthetic opioids, are now the most common drugs involved in deaths due to drug overdoses in the United States. This means emergency responders could be at risk each time they respond to a call involving an overdose. NIOSH specifically lists those involved with pre-hospital patient care, law enforcement, investigation and evidence handling, and special operations and decontamination as occupations where workers could be at risk of exposure through inhalation, mucous membrane contact, ingestion and percutaneous exposure.”

 

Working to protect emergency responders and others are the industrial hygiene professionals at Clark Seif Clark. Their experts identify hazards and exposure risks to a wide range of other substances. CSC offers worksite assessments, inspections, air and bulk testing of suspicious substances, and provides training services on work practices, respirators and other personal protective equipment (PPE).

 

CSC also recently sponsored an educational video about fentanyl and potential occupational exposure risks that can be seen at: https://youtu.be/EHnJ6ed0esI

 

To learn more about this or other occupational, indoor air quality, environmental, health, and safety testing and training services, please visit www.csceng.com, email csc@csceng.com or call (800) 807-1118. 

 

About Clark Seif Clark

CSC was established in 1989 to help clients in both public and private sectors address indoor air quality, occupational, environmental, and health and safety (EH&S) issues. CSC is a leading provider of these services with multiple offices along the western seaboard and southwest. The company believes in science-based protocols and has a strong background in engineering, making them the preferred environmental consultants to industrial clients, healthcare facilities, architects, schools, builders, contractors, developers and real estate professionals.