Firefighter Cancer Cohort Study: PFAS Chemical Exposure

Firefighter spraying chemical foam on a large fire

Thursday, March 3, 2022
11:00 a.m. (Pacific Time)




Check out this video to watch the Firefighter Cancer Cohort Study: PFAS Chemical Exposure.

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) and DNA Methylation in the Firefighter Cancer Cohort Study

A Speaker Series:
Toxicology and Societies
The Impacts of Chemicals in Our Lives

Brought to you by the WWU Institute of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry in partnership with the WWU Alumni Association

Please join us for the next speaker in our series on Toxicology and Societies: The Impacts of Chemicals in our Lives.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) exposures are a broad class of chemicals that populations around the world are exposed to through consumer products and contaminated environments. PFAS have been used to suppress hydrocarbon fuel fires. This use can lead to contaminated water systems and occupational exposure for firefighters. Firefighters are at increased risk for cancers and other diseases due to multiple hazardous exposures, which may include PFAS. Epigenetics, including DNA methylation, is one biological mechanism that controls whether genes or turned on or off. DNA methylation is responsive to exposures, and widespread changes to DNA methylation are part of the development of cancers. We conducted a study looking at the impact of PFAS on DNA methylation in US firefighters. We reported links between higher PFAS levels with epigenetic markers, including accelerated epigenetic age and DNA methylation of genes implicated in cancer, immune function, and other disease processes.

This seminar series aims to help you better appreciate, understand, and evaluate the many ways that manufactured chemicals (more than 300,000) interact with all humans on Earth.

More information about the speaker series is available here.

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Dr. Jackie Goodrich

Dr. Jackie Goodrich


Dr. Jackie Goodrich is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She received her doctorate in toxicology from the University of Michigan and focused her postdoctoral training on environmental epidemiology and epigenomics. Dr. Goodrich’s research program aims to identify environmental factors – including from occupational and environmental sources - that contribute to disease susceptibility in vulnerable populations. Exposures of interest include per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), heavy metals, phthalates, and phenols. Dr. Goodrich’s research includes investigation of epigenetics as a potential mechanism linking exposures to adverse health outcomes.

Ruth Sofield

Ruth Sofield


Ruth Sofield is a Professor of environmental toxicology and chemistry in the Huxley College of the Environment. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Environmental Science and Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. Ruth’s research group focuses on the effects of water and air pollution. Their current projects include the aquatic toxicity of microplastic and tire wear particles, and the use of moss as a biomonitoring tool for particulate matter. Ruth is a member of the Puget Sound Partnership Science Panel and the President of the Pacific Northwest Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

Tracy Collier

Tracy Collier


Tracy Collier received his Ph.D. in Fisheries Sciences from the University of Washington. He has worked for over 45 years as a toxicologist, with more than 35 of those years spent at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, where he served as the director of a science division that employed up to 100 people, covering several disciplines, including environmental toxicology, analytical chemistry, harmful algal blooms, and watershed processes. He has over 175 scientific publications, and currently is an affiliate faculty at Western.

Upcoming Speaker

June 2, 2022. 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. PT

Tamarra James-Todd
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


Questions and Accommodations

Contact the WWU Alumni Association for this event. Feel free to call at (360) 650-3353 or email at if you have any questions or comments.

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