The CELSPAC - FireExpo

The CELSPAC - FIREexpo research project is a part of a wider concept that brings to practice the science-based measures and recommendations that would lead to the physical and mental health prevention, good fitness, and wellness of the Czech firefighters. 

The aim of the CELSPAC - FIREexpo research study is to determine how the firefighting profession is affecting biological markers of exposure to a wide portfolio of hazardous chemical compounds, and markers of effects in firefighters and how can these alterations be linked with firefighters‘ health. This knowledge lays foundations for the measures that might help to mitigate the risks caused by hazardous factors of the firefighting profession. 

The close cooperation of the Training Center of the Fire Rescue Service of the Czech Republic for professional firefighters and the interdisciplinary research team of RECETOX and Faculty of the Sport Studies at the Masaryk University leads to high-quality practice-oriented research which helps to protect those who protect us.  

From the beginning of the project in January 2019, until the middle of 2020, almost 170 people were recruited to participate in the research from three population groups: i) the professional firefighters, ii) new firefighters at the beginning of their training for a professional firefighting career, and iii) control group of participants with no firefighting profession.  

All participants filled out the exposure questionnaires and underwent the tests of physical condition, body composition, and blood and urine sampling for biochemical examination and analyses of markers of exposure and effect. The control group underwent this testing two times and the new trainees four times to see the change of markers in specific phases of their training.  

All biological samples were processed, divided into smaller aliquots, and stored in the CELSPAC biobank, a facility that ensures the safe and quality storage of all samples for further use. In the CELSPAC - FIREexpo study, almost 4000 aliquots of urine and almost 10 000 aliquots of either venous blood, blood serum, or blood cells have been processed and stored.   

Currently, we are in the phase of completing the laboratory  analyses of markers and data analyses 

We focus for example on the poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) which are often used in firefighting foams, the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) which are products of imperfect combustion of organic matter, or the flame retardants (FRs), and many others including chemicals listed under the Stockholm Convention. These compounds can have negative effects on the human organism and therefore their health 

Other markers give us information about the levels of DNA damage, DNA methylation, a marker of epigenetic gene expression regulation, oxidative stress, antioxidant capacity, thyroid hormone activity, stress hormones, and others. These are all markers that can be affected by the exposure to chemical compounds, the high load of physical activity, and stress, and might be linked with negative health effects or decreased wellness. 

We would like to thank the study participants for their very appreciated cooperation. 

Watch the video about the project here (currently only available in Czech): 

FireExpo in the nutshell

          • PIs: Pavel Čupr, Aleš Pindur
          • Realization: 2019-2021
          • 170 participants
          • Financed from: CETOCOEN Plus

Short popularization video about the FireExpo study.

Cohort study: Research and assessment of the exposure of firefighters during firefighting in enclosed spaces and using the firefighting foam 

Almost 170 articipants, men, non-smokers, 18 – 35 years old 

Recruitment and sampling duration: Jan 2019 – June 2020 

  • Firefighters‘ exposure assessment to the poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), flame retardants (FRs), and other chemical compounds during firefighting in enclosed spaces and using firefighting foam. 
  • Determination and interpretation of linking of the exposure markers and markers of effect (genotoxicity, DNA methylation, oxidative stress thyroid effects). 
  • Assessment of the impact of antioxidant supplementation and fitness of participants. 
  • Assessment of the link between chemical exposure and current fitness during firefighting in enclosed spaces and using firefighting foams. 
  • Recommendation for preventive measures to better fitness and wellness and to protect the health of active firefighters. 

RECETOX Research Team

Research group: Exposure and Health Risk Assessment EHRA (left to right: Tomáš Janoš, Nina Pálešová, Libor Šulc, Aneta Rafajová, Ondřej Mikeš, Jana Navrátilová, Veronika Hlaváčková, Aleš Pindur, Katarína Řiháčková and Pavel Čupr)

Project management and staff 

doc. RNDr. Pavel Čupr, Ph.D.
Head of the HEAR research group
Study garant  

kpt. Mgr. Aleš Pindur, DiS.
Firefighting corps deputy
Chief accredited project deputy 

The CELSPAC - FIREexpo project has been approved by the CELSPAC Ethics Committee. 

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