Silent Spring Institute Awarded $1 Million for Drinking Water Study

CCB MEDIA PHOTO: Dr. Laurel Schaider with the Silent Spring Institute.

Hyannis – The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry have awarded a $1 million grant to the Silent Spring Institute.

The money will be used to investigate the human health effects of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) contaminants in drinking water.

Hyannis and Ayer will be the two communities of focus for the Silent Spring project.

Both locations have had drinking water contaminated by PFAS due to the use of firefighting foams from local training areas.

The team intends to collect blood samples from 1000 adults and 300 children between the two communities.

“With this new study that will be combining information from multiple sites, that will provide us with more information on how’s people’s health may be effected by the chemical exposures,” said Dr. Laurel Schaider, a researcher from the Silent Spring Institute.

Topics of study by the researchers will include the effects of PFAS on the immune system, reproduction, cholesterol levels, and neuro-behavioral effects in children.

“One concern about PFAS exposures is that they may make vaccines less effective in young children because of effects on the immune system. With this new study will be a larger study between Hyannis and Ayer,” said Schaider.

The study will also look at and model the exposure levels of children in the womb and babies fed via breastmilk, as PFAS can travel via the placenta and breastfeeding.

Though levels of the chemicals in the environment are lower in Hyannis now, the Institute still has a desire to investigate.

“We are concerned about the potential long terms effects that past exposure from when the levels were higher in the Hyannis water system,” said Schaider.

“One concern about PFAS chemicals is that they are extremely persistent in the environment and they can stick around in our bodies for months or maybe years. So we want to better understand the potential long term effects of potential exposures,” she said.


About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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