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Rutgers: Joins Multi-Site Health Study on Drinking Water and Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances

The Rutgers School of Public Health has been awarded $1 million by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to investigate the relationship between drinking water contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and health outcomes.

Dr. Robert Laumbach, associate professor at the Rutgers School of Public Health and Member of the Environmental and Occupational Health Institute, will be leading Rutgers’ efforts.

Rutgers joins grantees in other states across the country to investigate the health effects of PFAS, which have been linked with adverse effects on growth, learning, and behavior of infants and children; lowering a woman’s chance of getting pregnant; interfering with the body’s natural hormones; increasing cholesterol levels; affecting the immune system; and increasing the risk of some cancers.

The study will focus on past exposure to drinking water contaminated with PFAS in communities in Gloucester County.  The chemicals include perfluoronanoic acid, or PFNA, a PFAS compound that can be found in 98 percent or more of the U.S. population.

The new study will test for PFAS using blood samples from participants, reconstructing their past exposure and gathering data on their health to determine if there are relationships between PFAS exposure and health.

“Because exposure to PFAS chemicals is so widespread, it is very important to learn how they may be affecting health,” said Dr. Laumbach.  “With that knowledge we can help individuals, communities, and governmental agencies to respond in ways that protect and promote health.”

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