Scientists to test Cape Cod wells for chemicals.

In 2008, Newton’s Silent Spring Institute found chemicals and pharmaceuticals in Cape Cod’s groundwater. Now the group  is about to start testing private wells in Barnstable. Scientists there are looking for Barnstable homeowners willing to allow researchers to take samples from thier wells. 

Barnstable Town Manager John Klimm will host a public meeting on the tests on Nov. 17 at noon at Town hall.

Silent Spring Institute is researching links between the environment and breast cancer. This from a 2008 press release on the earlier study:  

Previous tests of pubic water supplies found “detectable levels of pharmaceuticals and consumer product chemicals in 75% of tested wells.  Contamination was greater in developed areas that have more septic systems.  The two most frequently detected chemicals were sulfamethoxazole, a common antibiotic, and PFOS, a chemical used in stain-resistant and nonstick coatings and in fire-fighting foams.  Levels of these compounds in several wells were among the highest reported in US drinking water… 

Chemicals targeted in the study are not currently regulated in drinking water and the health effects of low-level exposures are not known.  “We are targeting these chemicals because laboratory studies show they can mimic hormones such as estrogen or cause cancer in animals,” explains Dr. Laurel Schaider, a research scientist at Silent Spring Institute and the study director.  “In order to understand the health implications and plan for exposure reduction, we need to learn more about patterns and sources of exposure.” 




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