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Pease Will Join New PFAS Study On Childhood Vaccine Effects

The Silent Spring Institute will study how PFAS chemicals affected the health of children in Portsmouth and on Cape Cod.

The National Institutes of Health gave Silent Spring $2.6 million for the study.

It'll look at the effectiveness of early childhood vaccines in kids who drank PFAS-tainted water at Pease International Tradeport and in Hyannis, Massachusetts.

Drinking water supplies in both places were polluted with PFAS from firefighting foams used for years at military and fire training operations.

PFAS chemicals have been linked to cancer, immune deficiencies, developmental delays, kidney and liver disease, high cholesterol and other issues – but the science and standards around them is still evolving. 

Andrea Amico of Testing for Pease says the Silent Spring vaccination study is good news for worried parents like her.

"I had no idea my children were being exposed, I had no say in that, I had no control over that,” she says. “So it's left parents feeling really helpless – like, ‘My children suffered this exposure, they have high levels – now what?’"

Amico says she's already heard from parents who want to their children to be part of the Silent Spring study.

"I think this gives parents a feeling like they're doing something about this,” she says. “They're participating in a study, they're going to contribute to the science. We're going to learn more about it."

The research will complement a much broader PFAS health study that's in the works at the Centers for Disease Control.

Amico says parents still want more practical advice about PFAS for families and local pediatricians.

Her group will join researchers to give residents more information about the Silent Spring study, Nov. 13 at 5:30 p.m. at Great Bay Kids’ Company.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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