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Multi-Site Health Study Of Contaminated Drinking Water

1 year, 10 months ago

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Posted on Sep 30, 2019, 7 p.m.

The US CDC has awarded $1 million to the University of California, Irvine to participate in a major multi-site health study to investigate relationships between healthy outcomes and drinking water that has been contaminated with per and polyfluoroalkyl substances. 

Investigations will be conducted in Anaheim, Orange, Yorba Linda, and other surrounding communities where PFAS have been detected in public water supplies under this agreement. PFAS chemicals are contaminants which have been shown to adversely affect growth, learning and behavior in children, interfere with natural hormones, increase cholesterol levels, affect the immune system, increase the risk of developing certain cancers, and lower a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant. 

“There is much that is unknown about the health effects of exposure to these chemicals. The multi-site study will advance the scientific evidence on the human health effects of PFAS and provide some answers to communities exposed to the contaminated drinking water,” says Patrick Breysse, PHD, CIH, director of ATSDR and CDC's National Center for Environmental Health.

This is the first major study to investigate exposure to multiple per and polyfluoroalkyl substances at sites across the nation, information may help governmental agencies and communities with PFAS drinking water exposures to make better decisions about how to protect public health.

"We're excited to be part of the national effort addressing these emerging environmental contaminants," said Scott Bartell, PhD, professor in UCI's Program in Public Health and principal investigator for the study. "Our local communities deserve to know to what extent they have been exposed to these toxic chemicals, and whether or not they have increased health risks as a result of those exposures."

Scientists are still working to understand the health effects of exposure to PFAS. Per and polyfluoroalkyl substances are man made chemicals that have been used since the 1950s in products including non-stick cookware, water repellent clothing, cosmetics, stain resistant carpet and fibers, some firefighting foams, as well as products that resist grease, water, and oil.

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