Through our water quality research program, we are investigating various drinking water contaminants, many of which are unregulated and raise public health concerns.

Silent Spring first measured endocrine disrupting compounds in drinking water supplies on Cape Cod as part of the Cape Cod Breast Cancer and Environment Study. The study provided evidence that drinking water is an important route of exposure to these chemicals. The Institute’s scientists are now investigating a variety of contaminants in drinking water, including pharmaceuticals, hormones, as well as consumer product and industrial chemicals, and have expanded their research to the national level. Findings from this work are guiding policies to safeguard our drinking water supply and protect public health.

Related Projects


Through PFAS-REACH, we are advancing science on the impacts of PFAS on children's health and empowering communities to reduce their exposures and advocate for change.

Understanding the relationship between PFAS exposure and health outcomes will allow communities and governmental agencies to make better decisions about how to protect public health.

The STEEP Superfund Research Program Center was established to address the emerging problem of PFAS in drinking water—how these contaminants move through our environment, how we are exposed, and how they affect our health.

We are investigating whether low‐income and minority communities in the U.S. have higher levels of contaminants in their drinking water. 


Our investigation of public water supplies on Cape Cod provided some of the first information in the U.S. on the impacts of septic systems on drinking water.

Approximately 44 million residents in the United States get their drinking water from private wells. These wells are often impacted by wastewater and other contamination sources. 

Silent Spring Institute scientists have been at the forefront of investigating how contaminants from septic systems make their way into groundwater and eventually into our drinking water.