Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) is proud to be partnering with our sister organization Silent Spring Institute, and their collaborators at the University of Rhode Island (URI) and Harvard University on a new study focused on highly fluorinated chemicals, also called PFASs. The STEEP (Sources, Transport, Exposure and Effects of PFASs) Superfund Research Center is a five-year project, led by URI, that will study how PFASs (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) move through the environment, how people can be exposed through drinking water, and how these compounds can affect our health.
PFASs are a class of highly persistent, man-made compounds that have been found in drinking water across the U.S., including public water supplies in Hyannis, Westfield, and other Massachusetts communities, and in private wells near Joint Base Cape Cod. They are also found in stain-resistant coatings on carpets and upholstery, waterproof apparel, and non-stick pans.
Some of STEEP’s activities will be based on Cape Cod, including private well testing, studying PFASs in groundwater contaminated by firefighting foams, developing new methods for detecting PFASs in water, and community engagement. STEEP researchers will also study the chemical properties of PFASs and their specific impact on human health through a long-term health study of children in the Faroe Islands, complemented by laboratory studies. As a project partner, MBCC will work with STEEP team members to organize community events and share information about STEEP with citizens throughout Massachusetts.
The project is funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).
MBCC will be helping to organize a STEEP “Science Day” on June 7th at the Barnstable Town Hall on Cape Cod. Stay tuned for details about this event.