MA Legislators Fail to Support Chemical Exposure Research

Unfortunately, Silent Spring Institute’s full funding request for $1,135,000 to expand its research on Cape Cod and in Central Massachusetts was not included in the FY 2015 House Budget that was announced on May 1st.  The funding request now moves onto the Senate for consideration in the FY 2015 Senate Budget. Senator Daniel Wolf (D-Hyannis) will sponsor and champion Silent Spring Institute’s funding request for the FY 2015 Senate budget.

The Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) requested funding from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for its sister organization, Silent Spring Institute, to study exposure to toxic chemicals in drinking water and homes in Central Massachusetts and on Cape Cod. This request also included funding for MBCC to launch education and outreach projects to disseminate research results to the public.

Cheryl Osimo, MBCC Executive Director and Co-Founder of Silent Spring Institute, in response to the funding outcome:  “To prevent breast cancer for future generations, we must reduce environmental exposures linked with the disease. Allocating funding for research and educational programs is a crucial step towards protecting public health and we will continue to seek legislative support for such funding.”

Supportive Representatives

MBCC is thankful for the support of the State Representatives who sponsored and co-sponsored the funding amendments. Representative Frost (R-Auburn) sponsored and filed Amendment #1115, which would have provided $1,135,000 over two years. Representative Frost spoke articulately and passionately on the floor in support of Silent Spring Institute’s important research. The amendment was co-sponsored by:

  • Representative Durant (R-Spencer)
  • Representative Mannal (D-Barnstable)
  • Representative Ayers (D-Quincy)
  • Representative Balser (D-Newton)
  • Representative Beaton (R-Shrewsbury)
  • Representative Gifford (R-Wareham)
  • Representative Gobi (D-Spencer)
  • Representative Khan (D-Newton)
  • Representative Madden (D-Nantucket)
  • Representative Peake (D-Provincetown)
  • Representative Rushing (D-Boston)
  • Representative Vieira (R-Falmouth)

Amendment #439, which was also under consideration for the FY 2015 House budget would have provided $500,000 for FY15 only, was filed by Representative Mannal (D-Barnstable) and co-sponsored by Representatives Frost (R-Auburn), Durant (R-Spencer), and Dykema (D-Holliston).

In addition, we would like to thank our supporters who heeded our call for action to contact their local State Representative to ask for their support for Silent Spring Institute’s budget amendments. Your continued support and shared concern for toxic exposures is invaluable.

Research Summary

With the requested state funding, Silent Spring Institute researchers would have been able to:

  1. Investigate exposure to chemical herbicides in groundwater and in homes on Cape Cod. Exposure to herbicides has been linked to hormone disruption, DNA damage, and mammary tumors in animal studies. Using a combination of lab and field studies, researchers want to evaluate the movement of herbicides into groundwater, exposures through contact with sprayed areas, and migration of herbicides into homes.
  2. Research exposure to perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) in Central Massachusetts and on Cape Cod. PFCs – linked to cancer and hormone disruption in people – are widely used in non-stick and stain-resistant products. Researchers want to assess exposures to PFCs leaching from household products, sources of PFCs into wastewater and groundwater, and PFC levels in drinking water wells in Central Massachusetts. Prior Institute studies showed that PFCs were prevalent in Cape Cod drinking water.
  3. In conjunction with MBCC, launch new public information and education programs. Many people are unaware of new science about harmful exposures from everyday products and pollutants in their homes. This proposal would have allocated funding to both Silent Spring Institute and MBCC to disseminate research results and tips to avoid toxic exposures, including videos, community meetings, and outreach to local schools and colleges.

“Without state funding we will lose an opportunity,” says Dr. Julia Brody, Silent Spring Institute Executive Director, “to generate crucial new information about chemicals of concern in drinking water and in our homes and to reduce exposures to potentially harmful chemicals.”

Conducting this research and educational outreach is very expensive and researchers need state funding for the project. The MBCC strongly urges citizens to contact their local State Senators to request support for Silent Spring Institute’s funding so that they may continue their research on Cape Cod and to begin to do important research in Central MA.  

Will you support this effort and take action TODAY?

Now is the time to ask State Senators to co-sponsor this initiative and to express their support to Senator Wolf.  In addition, as an MBCC supporter, please contact Stephen M. Brewer, Senate Ways and Means Chair and Senate President Therese Murray and ask them to fully fund Silent Spring Institute’s research proposal of $1.2 million over 2 years.



 1. Click here to find your representative’s contact information.

 2. Contact him or her via phone or email (sample email message included below).

 3. Contact Senate President Murray and Senate Ways and Means Chair Brewer (contact information above) to request funding support. 
 4. Email us at to let us know who you contacted. That’s all there is to it!


Sample Email Message (feel free to personalize):

 Dear Senator ——, 

 As a member of your constituency, I’m reaching out to you with a request that you contact Senator Daniel Wolf to express your support of his sponsorship of Silent Spring Institute’s funding amendments. Additionally, I ask you to consider co-sponsoring this important initiative.  

We need more research conducted on exposure to chemicals like herbicides and perfluorinated chemicals. Many of these chemicals have been linked with breast cancer and other diseases. Without state funding, we won’t get the answers we need about common exposures in Massachusetts.

Please contact Senator Wolf who can be reached at  617-722-1570 or






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