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Community Meeting on the Cape: Chemicals of Concern in Drinking Water

Laurel Schaider, Silent Spring Institute,, 617-332-4288 x224
Cheryl Osimo, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition,, 508-246-3047

Highly Fluorinated Chemicals in Drinking Water


Silent Spring Institute, Northeastern University, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Testing for Pease, and Toxics Action Center


Scientists are seeking community input on a proposed study to test children in Hyannis for exposure to highly fluorinated chemicals in drinking water and to assess the potential health effects. The speakers will provide an overview of the issues surrounding contaminated water on the Cape, share experiences from other affected communities, and answer questions.


Wednesday, May 24th, 2017 (Lunch will be served)
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (English)
1:15 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. (Portuguese translation) 

* Following the first program, the speakers will repeat their presentation for members of the Brazilian community. A Portuguese translator will be onsite for both presentations. The event will also have ASL interpreters.


Barnstable Town Hall, 2nd Floor Hearing Room, 367 Main Street, Hyannis, MA


Laurel Schaider, PhD, Research Scientist, Silent Spring Institute
Phil Brown, PhD, Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences, Northeastern University
Courtney Carignan, PhD, Research Fellow, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Michelle Dalton and Alayna Davis, Co-Founders, Testing for Pease
Sylvia Broude, Executive Director, Toxics Action Center

Background: Highly fluorinated chemicals (PFASs) are persistent, harmful chemicals that have been linked to a range of health effects, including cancer and reproductive and developmental toxicity. In May 2016, the Hyannis Water System was found to exceed a new federal guideline for two highly fluorinated chemicals, PFOA and PFOS. Studies have traced the sources of these contaminants to the Barnstable County Fire and Rescue Training Academy and the Barnstable Municipal Airport, where firefighting foams containing highly fluorinated chemicals have been used. Although a do-not-drink advisory was issued last spring and officials took steps to reduce levels in tap water, questions remain about the health risks from past exposure.  In order to evaluate these risks, scientists are proposing to measure levels of highly fluorinated chemicals in blood samples from children in Hyannis and to assess the effects of these chemicals on immune system health.

The event is co-sponsored by the Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, Sierra Club, and GreenCAPE.