Firefighting Technology: 9/11 Kidney Study, DHS Compliance Assessment

9/11 first responders found to have higher prevalence of kidney damage
Research presented at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia, reveals that exposure to high levels of particulate matter causes significant damage to first responders’ kidneys.

The study participants were 183 consecutively enrolled first responders from the WTC–CHEST Program, a subset of the World Trade Center Clinical Center of Excellence. They were evaluated by investigators, who calculated an exposure score based on information available on the subjects’ proximity to Ground Zero, time of arrival, and duration of exposure. Participants with the highest exposure to particulate matter had significantly worse kidney function than those with low exposure.

Lead author of the study Mary Ann McLaughlin, MD (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai), reported: “We observed a statistically significant independent relationship of high exposure to particulate matter with albuminuria in this cohort after controlling for pertinent risk factors. This novel finding paves the way for future studies of environmental exposures and inflammation in the pathogenesis of albuminuria” ( Additional information on the danger of particulates for first responders and discussions on why they should wear their self-contained breathing apparatus on the in environments that may contain contaminants is at and

Accreditation organizations join DHS S&T compliance assessment program

The American Association for Laboratory Accreditation, ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board, and International Accreditation New Zealand have joined the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) laboratory accreditation efforts. They will participate in S&T’s Project 25 Compliance Assessment Program (P25 CAP), which verifies that emergency response communications equipment meet required standards.

“We look forward to working with these accreditation organizations to ensure public safety agencies can tell which P25 equipment is genuinely interoperable,” explains David Boyd, director of S&T’s Office for Interoperability and Compatibility. His office is responsible for developing standards for ensuring that radios and other equipment are interoperable regardless of the manufacturer so that first responders across disciplines and jurisdictions can maintain seamless critical communications.

Previously, P25 CAP laboratories were accredited by the U.S. Department of Commerce National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). DHS and NIST will work together with the accreditation organizations. Additional information on P25 CAP and other S&T initiatives is at

Mary Jane DittmarMARY JANE DITTMAR is senior associate editor of Fire Engineering and conference manager of FDIC. Before joining the magazine in January 1991, she served as editor of a trade magazine in the health/nutrition market and held various positions in the educational and medical advertising fields. She has a bachelor’s degree in English/journalism and a master’s degree in communication arts.

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