We are investigating the relationship between PFAS contaminants in drinking water and their effects on human health. Findings from the study will inform policies to protect public health and support communities in reducing their exposures.

Thank you to everyone who signed up for our Massachusetts PFAS & Your Health Study! We had a terrific response. Study enrollment is now closed and we are no longer accepting new participants. We are so grateful for the welcome and support we have received from both the Hyannis and Ayer communities. Please stay tuned for updates about the study's findings!

About the Study

child holding glass of waterThe Massachusetts PFAS and Your Health Study is a five-year project led by Silent Spring Institute in collaboration with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Eastern Research Group. The study is focusing on two communities in Eastern Massachusetts—Hyannis on Cape Cod and the town of Ayer—where public drinking water supplies have been contaminated by PFAS from the use of firefighting foams at nearby fire training areas.

It is one of seven projects funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) as part of the ATSDR Multi-Site Health Study on PFAS.

Community partners include the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) and People of Ayer Concerned about the Environment (PACE).

Eligible participants

Hyannis: Adults (ages 18+) and children (ages 4-17) who lived in Hyannis between May 2006 and July 2016. Children whose mothers lived in Hyannis between May 2006 and July 2016, prior to their child’s birth, may also be eligible to participate.

Ayer: Adults (ages 18+) and children (ages 4-17) who lived in Ayer between May 2006 and February 2018. Children whose mothers lived in Ayer between May 2006 and February 2018, prior to their child’s birth, may also be eligible to participate.

What was involved?

Study participants were asked to:

  • Provide a blood sample, urine sample, and body measurements.
  • Complete a questionnaire about water consumption, residential and work history, and health conditions.
  • Complete a neurobehavioral assessment that included a series of learning and memory games (children and adolescents only).

Adult participants received up to $50 in gift cards and children received up to $75 in gift cards for completing all parts of the study. Participants will also receive their blood test results.

Contact us

Our study is no longer accepting new participants. To reach the study team, please contact:

ATSDR PFAS Health StudyHyannis:

Email: pfas-health-study@silentspring.org
Call/Text: (508) 296-4298

Ayer:

Email: ayer-pfas-study@silentspring.org
Call/Text: (978) 212-9733

News and Updates

Media Coverage

June 6, 2024: Soaring PFAS levels force a reckoning for worried Hyannis residents, WBUR/CAI

March 28, 2023: Nationwide study to packaging bans: What the Cape can do about PFAS, the forever chemicals, Cape Cod Times

Oct. 24, 2022: Researchers still looking for Hyannis residents to participate in national PFAS study, WCAI

Feb. 16, 2022: Saturday open house: Current and former Hyannis residents needed for national PFAS study, Cape Cod Times

May 31, 2021: Study Looking At PFAS In Drinking Water Begins In Hyannis This Summer, WBUR

May 20, 2021: Researchers Seek 900 Hyannis Residents to Participate in PFAS Drinking Water Study, WCAI 

Project Updates

June 13, 2024: Community Forum in Ayer. Members of the Ayer community invited to learn about the study’s initial findings.

June 3, 2024: Community Meeting in Hyannis. Members of the Hyannis community invited to learn about the study’s initial findings.

Mach 25, 2023: Film screening and panel discussion. "PFAS and Your Community" - A series of short films exploring the impact of PFAS pollution on communities.

Nov. 1, 2022: Barnstable Town Hall Meeting on Nov. 16Hyannis residents invited to learn about CDC study, and why they should sign up and get tested.

Jan. 21, 2022: Scientists recruiting volunteers for health study on exposure to PFAS in drinking waterResidents in Hyannis on Cape Cod are invited to an Open House on February 19th to learn about the study and meet the team.

May 18, 2021: Massachusetts PFAS and Your Health Study Community Kickoff on Cape Cod. Silent Spring Institute and their partners invite current and former residents in Hyannis to a virtual community event on May 18th to learn about the Massachusetts PFAS and Your Health Study.

Sept. 25, 2019: Silent Spring Institute awarded $1 million to study health impacts of PFAS in drinking water. One of seven projects chosen as part of new federal health study to address contamination affecting communities nationwide

Meet the Team

Leadership

  • Laurel Schaider, PhD, Principal investigator, Senior Scientist in Environmental Chemistry and Engineering, Silent Spring Institute
  • Tamarra James-Todd, PhD, Co-Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor of Environmental Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Core Research Team

  • Abigail Bline, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Silent Spring Institute
  • Rebecca DeVries, ScD, Senior Epidemiologist, Eastern Research Group
  • Naida Gavrelis, MPH, Vice President, Eastern Research Group
  • Philippe Grandjean, MD, PhD, Professor of Environmental Medicine, University of Southern Denmark
  • Emily Heckel, MPH, Research Assistant, Silent Spring Institute (Study Coordinator)
  • Ruthann Rudel, MS, Director of Research, Toxicology and Exposure Assessment, Silent Spring Institute

Community Partners

Field Office Teams

Hyannis:

  • Virginia Liu, MPH
  • Barbara Murphy, RN, MSN, CNE  
  • Joan Owens
  • Kaitlyn Smith

Ayer:

  • Emily Campbell
  • Ain Imchen
  • Virginia Martins
  • Bianca Perla, MPH

Other Members

  • David Bellinger, PhD, Professor of Neurology and Psychology, Harvard Medical School and Professor of Environmental Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • Julia Brody, PhD, Executive Director and Senior Scientist, Silent Spring Institute
  • Clifton Dassuncao, PhD, Environmental Epidemiologist, Eastern Research Group
  • Alexandra Goho, MS, Director of Communications, Silent Spring Institute
  • Elsie Sunderland, PhD, Professor of Environmental Chemistry, Harvard Jerome A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences