Read the full article by Bronwen Howells Walsh (The Barnstable Patriot)

“The Silent Spring Institute is reaching out to the parents of preschool-age children in Hyannis and inviting them to participate in PFAS-REACH, a study designed to protect children from drinking water contaminants.

The study is designed to evaluate the effects of PFAS exposure on the immune systems of 120 preschool-age children in Hyannis and Pease NH. The two communities share similar environmental and health concerns stemming from ‘forever chemicals’ that entered the groundwater from firefighting foams…

In children who have been exposed to PFAS chemicals, ‘the bodies’ response to vaccinations appear to have lower levels of antibodies,’ making vaccines less effective, Schaider said.

To be eligible for the PFAS-REACH study, children (or their mothers) need to have lived in Hyannis or attended daycare for at least a year prior to May 2016, which is when the Hyannis Water System began using active carbon filtration to treat drinking water supplies.

‘The exchange site is designed for knowledge-sharing,’ said Phil Brown, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences at Northeastern University and director of the Silent Spring PFAS Lab.

Working with people who are directly affected, Brown said scientists are interviewing people to record ‘how communities discover the problem and act on it.’ For instance, how do they share information with the family and neighbors? How are people going to change their consumption habits? Will they take collective action?

Ultimately, ‘the exchange website will be for anybody across the country, who can plug in levels and find out how they compare,’ Brown said.

This we know
Nearly half the private water wells sampled on Cape Cod have traces of PFAS, Schaider said. Sources have been linked to firefighting foams once used at Joint Base Cape Cod, the former Barnstable County Fire and Rescue Academy, and Barnstable Municipal Airport, but the chemicals are also are found in everyday products, particularly non-stick cookware, flame-retardant and stain-resistant fabrics and rugs, waterproof clothing, Styrofoam fast-food containers, pizza boxes, microwave popcorn bags, and even some types of coated dental floss…”