In 2012, the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation approached the United Fire Service Women and environmental health advocates with concerns about multiple cases of premenopausal breast cancer among their ranks. Together, these groups discussed the need to understand breast cancer risk factors among women firefighters, particularly with regard to chemical exposures on the job.
This evolved into a study, led by researchers at Silent Spring Institute and University of California, Berkeley to test the blood and urine of firefighters for exposures to chemicals linked to breast cancer, including carcinogens and chemicals that disrupt the body’s normal hormone function.
The Women Firefighters Biomonitoring Collaborative Study is the first of its kind, in which researchers are comparing exposures in women firefighters in San Francisco to women working in other city services. This study will address the San Francisco firefighters’ concerns about breast cancer and add to the knowledge about women’s occupational exposures in general, an area which has been dramatically understudied.
The project team is composed of two firefighter groups, San Francisco Firefighter Cancer Prevention Foundation and the United Fire Service Women; researchers from UC Berkeley, University of California, San Francisco, and Silent Spring Institute; and environmental health advocates from Commonweal and Breast Cancer Fund.
For additional information, visit the Women Firefighter Biomonitoring Collaborative.