Women firefighters face high exposure to toxic PFAS chemicals

February 26, 2020

San Francisco woman firefighter San Francisco’s women firefighters are exposed to higher levels of certain toxic PFAS chemicals than women working in downtown San Francisco offices, shows a new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, San Francisco, and Silent Spring Institute.

The study, which appeared online Wednesday, February 26 in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, is one of the first published results from the Women Firefighters Biomonitoring Collaborative, a long-term investigation into the chemical exposures faced by women firefighters. Partners in the collaboration include the United Fire Service Women, the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention FoundationCommonweal and Breast Cancer Prevention Partners.

“Women firefighters actually raised concern about what they have perceived as elevated rates of breast cancer among their cohort in San Francisco,” said Jessica Trowbridge, a graduate student at UC Berkeley and lead author of the paper. “As a team, we decided to conduct an exposure study looking at chemicals that are potential breast carcinogens.”

Read more about the new study at Berkeley News

Photo: Maiko Bristow, a firefighter and EMT with the San Francisco Fire Department. Credit: UC Berkeley photo by Brittany Hosea-Small

Resources or References

Reference: Trowbridge, J., R.R. Gerona, T. Lin, R.A. Rudel, V. Bessonneau, H. Buren, R. Morello-Frosch. 2020. Exposure to Perfluoroalkyl Substances in a Cohort of Women Firefighters and Office Workers in San Francisco. Environmental Science & Technology. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b05490