PFAS Exposure and Epigenetics in the Firefighter Cancer Cohort Study

December 15, 2021
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

Slides & Resources


Jeff Burgess and Jackie Goodrich: PFAS Exposure and Epigenetics in the Fire Fighter Cancer Cohort Study


The Firefighter Cancer Cohort Study (FFCCS) website: https://www.ffccs.org/


Firefighters are at increased risk for multiple cancers. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) exposures are among the hazardous exposures firefighters face, and PFAS are linked to adverse health outcomes including cancers. 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. Dr. Jeff Burgess and Dr. Jackie Goodrich  presented a study they conducted looking at the impact of PFAS on DNA methylation in US firefighters. Investigators 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 webinar is one in a monthly series sponsored by the EDC Strategies Partnership. The EDC Strategies Partnership is co-chaired by Sharyle Patton (Commonweal Biomonitoring Resource Center), Jerry Heindel (Commonweal HEEDS, Healthy Environment and Endocrine Disruptor Strategies), Genon Jensen (HEAL, Health and Environment Alliance), Sarah Howard (HEEDS and the Commonweal Diabetes and Environment Program), and Hannah Donart (Commonweal CHE, Collaborative on Health and the Environment). To see a full list of past calls and webinars related to EDCs and listen to or view recordings, please visit our partnership page. For updates and more information on upcoming webinars, sign up for our HEEDSHEAL, and CHE newsletters! 

This webinar was moderated by Sharyle Patton, Director of the Commonweal Biomonitoring Resource Center. It lasted for 45 minutes and was recorded for our call and webinar archive.


Jeff Burgess, MD, is a Professor at the University of Arizona Zuckerman College of Public Health. He received his MD from the University of Washington School of Medicine in 1988, an MS in Toxicology with a Concentration in Industrial Hygiene from the University of Arizona in 1993 and an MPH in Environmental Health from the University of Washington in 1996. He previously worked as an Emergency Medicine physician, Medical Toxicologist and Occupational and Environmental Medicine physician. Dr. Burgess’ translational occupational and environmental health research primarily focuses on evaluation and prevention of injurious occupational and environmental exposures, funded by grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Jackie Goodrich, PhD, 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. This research includes investigation of epigenetics as a potential mechanism linking exposures to adverse health outcomes.