Research & Studies2024-01-18T08:21:19-08:00




SFFCPF is dedicated to securing grant funding to implement and collaborate on research studies examining the known link between firefighting toxic exposures and cancer. We collaborate with major research institutions (UCSF, UC Berkeley and Stanford), as well as, organizations focused on biomonitoring and the analysis of firefighting gear and firefighting foam for the presence of toxic chemicals. We will not stop searching until there is a cure.

2021 PFAS-free Turnout Bio-monitoring Study with Stanford
SFFCPF and Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford University have partnered together to study prototype PFAS-free turnouts. Manufacturers are claiming these newly designed and manufactured turnouts are PFAS-free and will evaluate durability and comfortability. However, this study will determine what, if any, other biologically harmful chemicals/metals are used as a replacement for PFAS and how much is absorbed in the human body at specific timepoints. The study is designed to sample the actual material used in both the current SFFD and PFAS-free turnouts, as well as biologically monitoring SFFD participants for PFAS and metals through blood, urine and skin tape samples. Although this is a preliminary study, we are hoping to gain enough information to expand the study design or focus on a particular aspect of the new PFAS-free turnouts in order to gain more data for targeted studies. We are anticipating to start sampling March 2021. Stanford will be publishing the results of this study.

2020 Stanford Active Firefighter Home Kit Acute Exposure Study
In August 2020, SFFCPF agrees to collaborate in a study of active SFFD firefighters exposed to smoke while fighting urban setting fires and/or wildfires while deployed on strike teams. Through simple in-home micro-sampling, the study will create a list of potential biomarkers both pre- and post- smoke exposure that can be used for general firefighters’ risks. The goal is to improve screenings for cancer, along with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. This study is under design and more information will follow shortly.

2020 Stanford Retired Firefighter Wildfire and Health Study
SFFCPF partners with Stanford University’s Study of Retired San Francisco Firefighters investigating short-term and long-term health impacts of exposure to California wildfire smoke. If you are interested in participating or learning more, check out Stanford’s Wildfire and Health Study.

2018 Camp Fire FireFighter Biomonitoring Study (Update 8/22/20)
SFFCPF commissioned the Camp Fire Study following the Paradise, CA Wildland Fire in partnership with Commonweal. 80 Firefighters responding from regional departments were sampled immediately post-deployment. The biospecimens were tested for chemical toxicants, including heavy metals, flame retardants, stain and water repellent substances, PAH’s and PFAS likely encountered on the fire ground. Chemical Body Burden Levels were released to each firefighter participant as they became available. On August 22, 2020, the aggregate study results were released indicating that immediately post-fire, firefighters were carrying in their bodies, a mixture of these chemical toxicants at levels higher than those found in the general US population.The majority of these chemicals are considered to be carcinogens, many of them associated with cardiovascular, reproductive, kidney and liver dysfunction. Of special concern is the exposure to PFAS, some of which are immune-suppressors that damage the body’s capacity to protect against disease. This study was funded by SFFCPF with contributions from the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF). Download the full Study Overview HERE.

2012 – Present (Update 2/26/20)
The Women Firefighters Biomonitoring Collaborative, led by Silent Spring Institute and UC Berkeley researchers, evolved when SFFCPF approached the United Fire Service Women and environmental health advocates with concerns about multiple cases of breast cancer among their ranks. This resulted in the first studies of women firefighters to assess chemical exposures, including exposure to chemicals linked to breast cancer. To learn more, check out The Women Firefighters Biomonitoring Collaborative on the Silent Spring Institute website, where you will find Women Firefighters and Breast Cancer Mapping Exposome Uncover Job Risk Factors (2018) and Women Firefighters Face High Exposure to Toxic PFAS Chemicals (2020)

SFFCPF funds the Northern California Firefighter Study aka the Tubbs Fire Study in response to the devastating October 2017 Tubbs wildfire. This study is looking at various levels of toxic chemicals through blood and urine analysis of 180 firefighters. FF Samples were taken 4 weeks following deployment.

SFFCPF funds a pilot study at UCSF evaluating the Key Flame-Retardant Compound Effect In Human Cell Models Of Cancer.

SFFCPF funds Flame Retardant Study with Dr. Susan Shaw. This was the first study to measure PBDD/Fs in blood of firefighters. View the study (pdf) HERE.

The San Francisco Fire Department accepts an invitation to participate in the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) Firefighter Cohort Study, along with Chicago and Philadelphia, in its most comprehensive study ever of cancer among US Firefighters. The study results were released in 2016.

Higher Rates of Leukemia and Other Cancers Found in 9/11 Responders. Read the full study HERE.

U.N. Expert Committee Recommends Global Elimination of Toxic Chemical Harming Health of Firefighter. The committee at the Stockholm Convention decided unanimously to recommend a complete global elimination for another toxic fluorinate “forever chemical.”

Health, Wildfires & Climate Change in California—Recommendations for Action white paper published at UC Berkeley