[Pharmwaste] Silent Spring will expand cancer probe - research group looking at chemical levels in home

Tenace, Laurie Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us
Thu Nov 15 11:35:00 EST 2007

Silent Spring will expand cancer probe
        By Robin Lord
November 15, 2007
BARNSTABLE - A number of Cape homes studied by the Silent Spring Institute
six years ago had high levels of dangerous chemicals lingering in the dust
and air, many of which are known carcinogens. But the Newton-based research
group that is looking into environmental causes of breast cancer had never
compared those levels with homes elsewhere in the state - until now.

Silent Spring will soon launch similar household exposure studies in other
communities around the state, Silent Spring senior environmental toxicologist
Ruthann Rudel told a group gathered at Barnstable Town Hall yesterday. Silent
Spring researchers gave an update on their work at the forum. The group was
founded in 1994 by a group of Cape residents.

"It was really a landmark study," Rudel said of the 2001 Cape Cod Household
Exposure investigation by Silent Spring. The study tested air and dust in 120
homes on Cape Cod and was the first in the country to measure indoor levels
of many of the chemicals.

Cape Cod was chosen for the study because it historically has had a 20
percent higher incidence of breast cancer than the rest of the state.

Researchers found 67 endocrine disrupting chemicals in these homes, known to
fuel mammary tumors in mice, and 27 carcinogenic pesticides, including DDT,
which was banned in the 1970s.

Many of the chemicals persisted at levels above what is recommended by the
Environmental Protection Agency.

What off-Cape sites will be tested in the new study, and when has not yet
been determined, Rudel said. This new research will be funded, in part, by a
new $175,000 state grant through the University of Massachusetts-Lowell.

Silent Spring researchers are also continuing a study of six Cape Cod ponds
to see whether hormone-disrupting and cancer-inducing chemicals have found
their way from septic systems into the water. Last year natural and synthetic
hormones, as well as many pharmaceuticals, were discovered in test wells
down-gradient from from an unidentified septic system plume on the Cape.

Now researchers want to know if the chemicals travel into the groundwater to
spring-fed ponds.

Results from the pond study will be known in about four to six months, Rudel

To learn more about the work of Silent Spring, including the household
exposure and pond studies, visit

Laurie J. Tenace
Environmental Specialist
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
2600 Blair Stone Road, MS 4555
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2400
PH: (850) 245-8759
FAX: (850) 245-8811
Laurie.Tenace at dep.state.fl.us 

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