Read the full article by Barbara Moran (WBUR)

“Researchers are beginning a five-year, multi-state study to look at the long-term health effects of the toxic chemicals known as PFAS in drinking water. In Massachusetts, the study will focus on Hyannis and Ayer — two communities where public drinking water supplies were contaminated by firefighting foams used at nearby fire training areas.

Barnstable town manager Mark Ells, speaking at a webinar to announce the study, noted that Hyannis has PFAS-free drinking water after the town spent millions of dollars to install a filtration system. But, he added, ‘the concern regarding these emerging contaminants is ever-present.’

There are thousands of chemicals in the PFAS family, and people can be exposed to them in many ways, like through food or consumer products. Laurel Schaider, the research scientist leading the study for the Newton-based Silent Spring Institute, says for many communities the top culprit is contaminated drinking water.

‘There are so many communities across the country that have had contamination of their water supplies, and we think that in these communities that their exposures from drinking water will be much greater than from other pathways of exposure,’ Schaider said. ‘And in some ways, it’s easier to go back in time and to reconstruct what past water concentrations might have been, as opposed to trying to estimate what past consumer product or food exposures might have been…’”