Superfund Research Program
Early Life Exposure to Tetrachloroethylene (PCE)-Contaminated Drinking Water and Social Stressors may Interact to Increase the Risk of Substance Use Later in Life
Over the past year, Ann Aschengrau, Sc.D. and her research team completed identifying the study population which now includes 763 birth defect cases, 299 stillbirth cases and 803 controls from 28 cities and towns in Massachusetts and Rhode Island; finding current addresses and telephone numbers for identified participants; and sending self-administered questionnaires to successfully located living subjects. To date, 421 questionnaires have been received and follow-up letters and calls to non-respondents are underway. The research team anticipates that the final response rate will be 40%. The research team also completed gathering and incorporating all relevant environmental exposure data into a Geographic Information System and finalizing the PCE exposure assessment data and procedures. Using data from prior SRP investigations, Aschengrau and her research team has also prepared or published manuscripts describing the impact of early life exposure to PCE on the risk of chronic disease; the combined impact of early life exposure to PCE and maternal alcohol consumption on the risk of illicit drug use; the impact of consuming fish with high mercury levels on learning disorders and neuropsychological test performance; the impact of air pollution on infertility; and spatial analyses of mental illness. The research team also presented its research findings at the annual meetings of the Superfund Research Program and Neurobehavioral Teratology Society, a “Diversity Event” webinar sponsored by the US EPA Technology Integration and Information Branch, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Seminar Series, and two Boston University symposia. A brief summary of the BUSRP and Aschengrau’s research was also provided to interested study participants.