Breast Milk Studies

Health and Wellness of Women Firefighters – Firefighter Breastmilk Chemical Analysis

Funded by FEMA Grant No. EMW-2015-FP-00848 to National Development and Research Institutes, Inc. (NDRI) with Subcontract to the UA for Firefighter Breastmilk Chemical Analysis from NDRI

Purpose and Objectives

Breast Milk Sample

While firefighter health research has experienced exponential growth over the past decade, the published literature has focused almost exclusively on males.

The lack of data on how firefighting impacts women has been hypothesized to negatively impact recruitment, retention, and job satisfaction. Particularly lacking are details about female-specific health concerns (e.g. reproductive cancers, reproductive health, safety of breastfeeding). We also address other critical areas of concern including cancer, injury, and behavioral health issues among both career and volunteer female firefighters.

Based on results from the two goals below, the panel NDRI develops will provide policy recommendations and suggestions for prevention to guide the decisions of firefighters, fire service organizations, healthcare providers, and management related to the safety and health of female firefighters and to protecting maternal and child health.


Goal #1 will be performed by NDRI under the direction of Dr. Sara Jahnke:
To conduct a 2-year study of ~ 2000 career and ~2000 volunteer female firefighters focused on key health concerns including:

a) maternal and child occupational health risks;
b) cancers, with a focus on reproductive cancers;
c) behavioral health risks;
d) cardiovascular risk factors;
e) injury and
f) morale and perception of department support. One such link to the study can be found at:

Goal #2 is being performed by University of Arizona under the direction of Dr. Jeff Burgess:

To evaluate brominated fire retardant concentration and toxicity of breast milk collected from lactating firefighters at baseline and at intervals after a structure fire, compared to breast milk from non-firefighters.

Breast Milk Creamatocrit Sample