Silent Spring Institute Research Update

September 12, 2012

Contaminants of emerging concern in Cape water
Hormone disruptors in common household products

DATE: Thursday, October 4, 2012 
WHERE: 9:30–11:00 a.m.
Barnstable Senior Center, 825 Falmouth Road, Hyannis
(Refreshments will be served)


and the same presentation repeated at:

12:00–1:30 p.m.
Barnstable Town Hall, 2nd Floor Hearing Room, 367 Main Street, Hyannis
(Lunch will be served)

WHO: Laurel Schaider, PhD, Silent Spring Institute Research Scientist
Robin Dodson, ScD, Silent Spring Institute Research Scientist

Contaminants of emerging concern in Cape drinking water and groundwater

For over a decade, Silent Spring Institute researchers have measured hormone disruptors, pharmaceuticals and other contaminants of emerging concern in Cape Cod drinking water, groundwater and ponds.  Our recent studies found pharmaceuticals, perfluorinated chemicals (used in non-stick and stain-resistant products) and flame retardants in public and private drinking water wells across Cape Cod.  These chemicals are found more frequently and at higher levels in wells with greater septic system impacts, as indicated by higher levels of nitrate and boron.  Dr. Laurel Schaider will present these studies and discuss implications in the context of broader concerns about pollution and water management on the Cape.  She will also describe plans for new studies of emerging contaminants from Cape septic systems and other on-site treatment systems as part of an effort to compare these options with centralized wastewater treatment plants, which would also discharge into Cape groundwater.

Hormone disruptors and asthma-associated chemicals in household products

Silent Spring Institute previously detected 67 hormone disruptors in air and dust in homes on Cape Cod, providing the first reported measurements in indoor environments for many of these chemicals.  To investigate the sources of these and other chemicals in typical households, we tested 50 types of commonly-used products, including personal care products, cleaning products and other household items, for 66 hormone disruptors and chemicals associated with asthma.  Fifty-five target chemicals were found, including many not listed on product labels.  Dr. Robin Dodson will discuss the study and tips for avoiding potentially harmful chemicals in everyday products.

Silent Spring Institute’s research is published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and our goal is to share our findings with the Cape community in these public presentations.