Objectives: Some firefighter station uniforms contain the flame-retardant, antimony trioxide. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health investigated a possible outbreak of antimony toxicity wherein 30 firefighters reported elevated antimony levels on hair analyses.
Methods: We surveyed and collected urine samples from firefighters not wearing (Fire Department A) and wearing (Fire Department B) antimony-containing pants. Urine antimony concentrations were measured and adjusted for creatinine.
Results: All 20 participating firefighters from Fire Department A and 41 (97.6%) of 42 participating firefighters from Fire Department B had urine antimony concentrations below or within the national reference range. No differences in urine antimony levels between departments were detected.
Conclusions: Wearing antimony-containing uniforms does not pose a risk for antimony toxicity. This investigation highlights the importance of using validated methods for toxicity determination and of accurate, timely risk communication.