URI given grant for groundwater contaminant research efforts
The University of Rhode Island has received a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to examine more thoroughly the effects of industrial chemicals that pose a threat to human health through groundwater contamination.
“One could say we are in this decades too late,” said Philippe Grandjean, professor of environmental health at Harvard T.H.
Chan School of Public Health, during a press event regarding the program at the Rhode Island Foundation Dec. 4.
PFASs, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of man-made chemicals that are not found naturally in the environment, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
He said once these compounds get into the human body, they find their way into human milk, affecting babies and possibly increasing the frequency of infectious diseases.
“This is serious,” Grandjean said.
But it’s going to be quite a challenge.” The project will conduct research at two focus areas – Cape Cod and the Faroe Islands.
Bill Suk, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Science’s Superfund Research Program, said the goal of the project is to learn more about the link between environmental exposure and disease.
“That can only be done by bringing together a team of researchers to look at the complexity of the problem and to be able to reduce those exposures,” he said.
The STEEP team has worked on creating this project for more than two years.