GradImpact: Protecting Firefighters from Toxic Exposures through Textile Chemistry

    Becoming a firefighter comes with its share of risks, but Chandler Maness hopes to do something about that. As a master’s student in textile chemistry at North Carolina State University, Maness is working to develop better gear for firefighters. His primary goal is to reduce the amount of particulate materials from fires that manage to seep into the gear. According to Maness, “those particulates contain toxic compounds and carcinogens that are part of the reason that firefighters have such a high rate of cancer. So the scope of the overall project is to kind of develop a turnout and ensemble that prevents these particulates from getting to the skin.”


    Finding the most protective materials and designs is important, but they also need to be functional and allow firefighters the same level of maneuverability. Maness and his colleagues went right to the source, visiting local fire and emergency management stations to talk to firefighters and show them prototypes. They take that feedback back to the lab and create a new prototype.


    “Obviously, my hope and the hope of all my co-workers is that the research we do will contribute to a decrease in those [cancer] rates,” said Maness. To learn more about Chandler’s work, visit the North Carolina State University website.


    Visit the GradImpact Feature Gallery to learn more about the amazing, innovative research being done by graduate students and alumni across the world.



    **Photo Credit: Marc Hall, NC State University Communications




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