Read the full article by Jeff McMenemy
“PORTSMOUTH — Silent Spring Institute announced it will launch a study to investigate how PFAS chemicals impacted children’s health at the Pease International Tradeport and in Hyannis, Massachusetts.
Silent Spring announced the Testing for Pease group will be one of its community partners on the study, which is being funded by a $2.6 million federal grant to investigate PFAS chemicals and their impacts on children’s health.
Thousands of men and women who have worked at the former Pease Air Force Base – along with infants and children at two separate day-care centers there – were exposed to several different PFAS through the contaminated Haven well, which is owned by the city of Portsmouth.
‘These chemicals are ubiquitous and persist in the environment for a long time. So it’s important that we fully understand their effects on human health, especially the health of young children whose bodies are more vulnerable to chemical exposures,’ said Laurel Schaider, PhD, an environmental chemist at SSI.
Schaider will lead the five-year project called PFAS-REACH (Research, Education and Action for Community Health) in collaboration with researchers at Northeastern University and Michigan State University. The project is funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health.
Starting next spring, Schaider and her colleagues will collect blood samples from children age 4 to 6 in the selected communities. The researchers will measure PFAS and antibody levels in samples taken shortly after the children receive their final diphtheria and tetanus vaccines, according to SSI.
The team will also look for markers of other physiological effects, such as metabolites or small molecules linked with inflammation.
‘Because PFASs can depress the immune system, our hypothesis is that vaccines are less effective in children with high exposures,’ Schaider said…
Amico said the SSI study is different than the one created through legislation by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH. But she believes the SSI study ‘will compliment those efforts to add to the science on children’s exposure to PFAS.’ …
SSI’s project team will also document the experiences of affected communities by conducting in-depth interviews and ethnographic research.
‘Environmental contamination not only impacts people’s health, it also exacts a toll on the community’s social, psychological and economic well-being,’ said co-principal investigator Phil Brown, Ph.D, director of the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at Northeastern University. ‘By documenting this impact, communities can gain a better understanding of their circumstances that will allow them to advocate for themselves.’
SSI’s study will be the first one ‘to evaluate immune systems effects in children exposed to the chemicals through drinking water, specifically to PFASs from firefighting foams,’ said co-investigator Courtney Carignan, Ph.D, an environmental epidemiologist at Michigan State and former Portsmouth resident.
SSI, based in Newton, Massachusetts, is a leading scientific research organization dedicated to understanding the links between chemicals in our everyday environments and human health, with a focus on breast cancer. Founded in 1994, it is developing innovative technologies to accelerate the transition to safer chemicals, while translating its science into policies that protect health. For information, visit silentspring.org.”