Cape Cod Breast Cancer Research Advocates Head to Beacon Hill to Lobby Lawmakers

Dr. Laurel Schaider

BOSTON – Cape Codders will be a part of an effort by the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition to lobby lawmakers Wednesday on Beacon Hill to restore research funding.

The coalition’s sister organization, Silent Spring Institute, has seen a drastic decease in state funding over the last decade, including $25,000 vetoed by Governor Charlie Baker from the Fiscal Year 2018 state budget.

The funding would be used by Silent Spring researchers to study the health effects of highly fluorinated chemicals in drinking water, test for contaminants in private wells, evaluate enhanced removal of contaminants from household wastewater and develop online water quality information tools for residents.

Marstons Mills resident Betty Ann Bevis, a coalition committee member and a cancer survivor, said Cape Cod has a problem that needs to be addressed.

“I’m worried about my children, my children’s children and it needs to be addressed and we need to do something here on the Cape,” Bevis said. “And it doesn’t seem like anybody’s listening.”

Cape Cod has some of the highest incidences of breast cancer in the state.

“I just don’t know why they won’t listen to us – why we can’t get the funding to finish the research here on the Cape, so that we can eradicate it and get rid of higher breast cancer rates on Cape Cod,” Bevis said.

MBCC supporters are scheduled to meet with 3rd Barnstable State Representative David Vieira (R-Falmouth) at 2 p.m. and 5th Barnstable State Representative Randy Hunt (R-Sandwich) at 3 p.m.

Silent Spring is also looking to conduct a study which would test children in Hyannis for exposure to highly fluorinated chemicals and their potential impacts.

The Hyannis Water System exceeded federal levels of PFOS and PFOAs in the spring of 2016.

The contaminants which entered the Hyannis water supply have been traced back to the use of firefighting foams used at the Barnstable County Fire and Rescue Training Academy and Barnstable Municipal Airport.

A do-not-drink order was issued before actions were taken to reduce the levels in tap water, but questions remain about possible health risks from previous exposure.

The highly fluorinated chemicals have been linked to a range of health effects, including cancer and reproductive and developmental toxicity.

Since 2010, Silent Spring has only received $75,000 in state funding for its research efforts. Between 1995 and 2002 the organization received over $8.5 million.


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