Let’s Talk About PFAS: The Case of the Missing Contaminants – June 23rd Webinar

Join the University of Rhode Island STEEP Superfund Research Program Center on Wednesday, June 23rd for another installment of the “Let’s Talk About PFAS” webinar series. This virtual event is free and open to the public. Register today!

STEEP scientists will discuss recent efforts to track down harmful PFAS chemicals in the environment, including a new study in which researchers uncovered large quantities of previously undetected PFAS from firefighting foams and other unknown sources in six watersheds on Cape Cod. The findings, which were published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, raise concerns about the potential impact on drinking water quality and human health. PFAS have been linked with a number of health effects including cancer. Since current federal and state testing methods only test for a limited number of PFAS, they may be underestimating the true extent of contamination in the environment.

WHAT: “Let’s Talk About PFAS: The Case of the Missing Contaminants” – webinar organized by the STEEP Superfund Research Program Center and hosted by the Town of Barnstable. Speaker presentations followed by Q&A with the public.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 23, 2021, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
WHO:  Program and Speakers:

  • Welcome remarks:
    • Cheryl Osimo, Executive Director, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition and Cape Cod Outreach Coordinator, Silent Spring Institute
    • Mark Ells, Town Manager, Town of Barnstable, Cape Cod
  • Presentations: 
    • Denis LeBlanc, Research Hydrologist, New England Water Science Center of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
    • Bridger Ruyle, Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Science and Engineering, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
  • STEEP private well study update:
    • Laurel Schaider, Senior Scientist, Silent Spring Institute
    • Alyson McCann, Water Quality Program Coordinator, College of Environment and Life Sciences, University of Rhode Island
  • Q&A

Background: PFAS are a class of chemicals that are widely used in consumer products. People can be exposed to these chemicals from direct contact with products, through the air they breathe, or the food they eat. They can also be exposed through drinking water. The chemicals find their way into the environment from industrial sites, waste disposal, and fire training areas where PFAS are used in firefighting foams. Hundreds of communities across the country, including Cape Cod, have been affected by drinking water contaminated with PFAS. The STEEP event is part of a webinar series called “Let’s Talk About PFAS” to support both Cape Cod and affected communities nationwide by sharing information and offering solutions so that communities can better protect themselves. To watch recordings of previous presentations from the “Let’s Talk About PFAS” webinar series, please visit the STEEP website.

About STEEP:The Sources, Transport, Exposure and Effects of PFASs (STEEP) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center is a collaboration between the University of Rhode Island, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health, and Silent Spring Institute. Led by URI, the five-year project is addressing the emerging and expanding problem of poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water—how these chemicals move through our environment, how we are exposed through our drinking water, and how they affect our health. Local project partners include the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition and the Sierra Club Cape Cod Group.STEEP is funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).For more information about STEEP, visit: https://web.uri.edu/steep/