NEWS | June 15, 2018

Pregnant women and new moms invited to join UC Davis wildfire study

Study to assess effects of smoke and ash on pre- and post-natal health of women and their babies

(SACRAMENTO)

Women who were pregnant during or right after the October 2017 wildfires in Northern California are invited to participate in a new UC Davis study to determine if those fires affected their health and the health of their babies.

Rebecca Schmidt Rebecca Schmidt

Public health researchers leading the study, called the Bio-Specimen Assessment of Fire Effects Study (B-SAFE), will test blood, hair and breast milk from women and, if possible, placenta, umbilical cord, saliva and blood samples from their babies for toxic exposures related to smoke and ash from the fires.

“Very little is known about how wildfires impact the health of women and their babies who were exposed during pregnancy,” said principal investigator Rebecca J. Schmidt, assistant professor of public health sciences and the MIND Institute at UC Davis. “Our goal is to gather mothers with fire-affected pregnancies who want to help us understand what they were exposed to and the biological effects of those exposures on them and their children.”

B-SAFE researchers will visit participants up to three times to collect samples and information. All women who enroll are eligible for compensation and will be the first to know overall study outcomes. They also will help close gaps in what is known about the health effects of fires that involve manmade structures as well as landscape. This is especially important in Northern California, where the incidence and intensity of wildfires have increased in recent years.

For more information on the study, email hs-bsafe@ucdavis.edu

Study participants must have been living or working in Butte, Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Nevada, Solano, Sonoma or Yuba County in October 2017. They also must be:

  • at least 18 years of age
  • able to understand and respond to written questions in English (the researchers plan to expand the study to include Spanish-language speakers)
  • currently pregnant with an expected due date no later than October 31, 2018, or a new mom who was pregnant at the time of the fires

Women who participate may be able to enroll their children in ongoing health assessments related to the fires.

For additional enrollment information, email hs-bsafe@ucdavis.edu.

B-SAFE is one of a series of Northern California fire studies funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences through the UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences Center.

Established in 2015, the center links experts in multiple UC Davis schools — medicine, veterinary medicine, engineering, biological sciences, letters and science, and agricultural and environmental sciences — for studies on the effects of environmental events, chemicals, pollutants, and disasters on disease and disability. The ultimate goal is to foster new approaches and policies that protect communities from harmful exposures. More information is available on the center’s website.

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