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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UAlbany: Receives $1 Million for Joint Grant with New York State Department of Health to Conduct PFAS Health Study

University at Albany School of Public Health and the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) announced a joint grant of $1 million to fund the first year of a five-year project from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry to support a health study of exposures of residents living in communities with drinking water contaminated with per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

As one of seven sites selected for funding, NY’s study will include participants from the Hoosick Falls and Newburgh areas, two communities that have been affected by PFAS. As the first national study to look at exposure to multiple PFAS at multiple sites, the goal is to better understand the relationship between PFAS exposure and health outcomes.

The project will be led by Dr. Erin Bell of UAlbany and Dr. Elizabeth Lewis-Michl of the NYS DOH.

The multi-site health study was authorized by the National Defense Authorization Acts of 2018 and 2019. NYS will work with the CDC and the six other funded entities. The multi-site study will recruit 2,000 children aged 4–17 years and 6,000 adults aged 18 years and older who were exposed. NYS will recruit a total of 1,000 adults and 300 children. The project’s planning phase begins Oct. 1.

Some studies have shown that certain PFAS may affect the developing fetus and child, including possible changes in growth, learning and behavior. They may decrease fertility and interfere with the body’s natural hormones, increase cholesterol, affect the immune system and increase cancer risk. PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, was most commonly used nationally in non-stick cookware until its discontinuation in 2005, and PFOS was an ingredient formerly used in firefighting foam at Air National Guard bases nationwide and across NYS.

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