Human Exposure to the Jet Fuel, JP-8

Raymond H. Tu, Clifford S. Mitchell, Gary G. Kay, Terence H. Risby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Introduction: This study investigates anecdotal reports that have suggested adverse health effects associated with acute or chronic exposure to jet fuel. Methods: JP-8 exposure during the course of the study day was estimated using breath analysis. Health effects associated with exposure were measured using a neurocognitive testing battery and liver and kidney function tests. Results: Breath analysis provided an estimate of an individual's recent JP-8 exposure that had occurred via inhalation and dermal routes. All individuals studied on base exhaled aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons that are found in JP-8. The subject who showed evidence of the most exposure to JP-8 had a breath concentration of 11.5 mg · m-3 for total JP-8. This breath concentration suggested that exposure to JP-8 at an Air Guard Base is much less than exposure observed at other Air Force Bases. This reduction in exposure to JP-8 is attributed to the safety practices and standard operating procedures carried out by base personnel. The base personnel who exhibited the highest exposures to JP-8 were fuel cell workers, fuel specialists and smokers, who smoked downwind from the flightline. Discussion: Although study-day exposures appear to be much less than current guidelines, chronic exposure at these low levels appeared to affect neurocognitive functioning. JP-8-exposed individuals performed significantly poorer than a sample of non-exposed age- and education-matched individuals on 20 of 47 measures of information processing and other cognitive functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-59
Number of pages11
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Breath analysis
  • Exposure assessment
  • Neurocognitive effects
  • Renal and liver function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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