Occupational exposure to aerosolized brevetoxins during Florida red tide events: Effects on a healthy worker population

Lorraine C. Backer, Barbara Kirkpatrick, Lora E. Fleming, Yung Sung Cheng, Richard Pierce, Judy A. Bean, Richard Clark, David Johnson, Adam Wanner, Robert Tamer, Yue Zhou, Daniel G. Baden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

83 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Karenia brevis (formerly Gymnodinium breve) is a marine dinoflagellate responsible for red tides that form in the Gulf of Mexico. K. brevis produces brevetoxins, the potent toxins that cause neurotoxic shellfish poisoning. There is also limited information describing human health effects from environmental exposures to brevetoxins. Our objective was to examine the impact of inhaling aerosolized brevetoxins during red tide events on self-reported symptoms and pulmonary function. We recruited a group of 28 healthy lifeguards who are occupationally exposed to red tide toxins during their daily work-related activities. They performed spirometry tests and reported symptoms before and after their 8-hr shifts during a time when there was no red tide (unexposed period) and again when there was a red tide (exposed period). We also examined how mild exercise affected the reported symptoms and spirometry tests during unexposed and exposed periods with a subgroup of the same lifeguards. Environmental sampling (K. brevis cell concentrations in seawater and brevetoxin concentrations in seawater and air) was used to confirm unexposed/exposed status. Compared with unexposed periods, the group of lifeguards reported more upper respiratory symptoms during the exposed periods. We did not observe any impact of exposure to aerosolized brevetoxins, with or without mild exercise, on pulmonary function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)644-649
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Volume113
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2005

Fingerprint

Harmful Algal Bloom
red tide
Tides
occupational exposure
Occupational Exposure
Dinoflagellida
Population
Spirometry
Seawater
toxin
Shellfish Poisoning
Gulf of Mexico
Shellfish
seawater
Lung
Environmental Exposure
shellfish
poisoning
dinoflagellate
Inhalation

Keywords

  • Aerosol
  • Brevetoxins
  • Karenia brevis
  • Lifeguards
  • Pulmonary function
  • Red tide
  • Spirometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Backer, L. C., Kirkpatrick, B., Fleming, L. E., Cheng, Y. S., Pierce, R., Bean, J. A., ... Baden, D. G. (2005). Occupational exposure to aerosolized brevetoxins during Florida red tide events: Effects on a healthy worker population. Environmental Health Perspectives, 113(5), 644-649. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.7502

Occupational exposure to aerosolized brevetoxins during Florida red tide events : Effects on a healthy worker population. / Backer, Lorraine C.; Kirkpatrick, Barbara; Fleming, Lora E.; Cheng, Yung Sung; Pierce, Richard; Bean, Judy A.; Clark, Richard; Johnson, David; Wanner, Adam; Tamer, Robert; Zhou, Yue; Baden, Daniel G.

In: Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 113, No. 5, 01.05.2005, p. 644-649.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Backer, LC, Kirkpatrick, B, Fleming, LE, Cheng, YS, Pierce, R, Bean, JA, Clark, R, Johnson, D, Wanner, A, Tamer, R, Zhou, Y & Baden, DG 2005, 'Occupational exposure to aerosolized brevetoxins during Florida red tide events: Effects on a healthy worker population', Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 113, no. 5, pp. 644-649. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.7502
Backer, Lorraine C. ; Kirkpatrick, Barbara ; Fleming, Lora E. ; Cheng, Yung Sung ; Pierce, Richard ; Bean, Judy A. ; Clark, Richard ; Johnson, David ; Wanner, Adam ; Tamer, Robert ; Zhou, Yue ; Baden, Daniel G. / Occupational exposure to aerosolized brevetoxins during Florida red tide events : Effects on a healthy worker population. In: Environmental Health Perspectives. 2005 ; Vol. 113, No. 5. pp. 644-649.
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