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Your Environment. Your Health.

Progress Reports: Boston University: Early Life Exposure to Tetrachloroethylene (PCE)-Contaminated Drinking Water and Social Stressors may Interact to Increase the Risk of Substance Use Later in Life

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

Project Leader: Ann Aschengrau
Co-Investigators: Lisa Gallagher, Richard Saitz, Renee Boynton-Jarrett
Grant Number: P42ES007381
Funding Period: 2000-2020
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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Progress Reports

Year:   2019  2018  2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000 

Studies and Results

Since the last report, Dr. Aschengrau and her team have obtained the necessary approvals to conduct the study; developed a self-administered questionnaire for the collection of data from study mothers; made substantial progress gathering and incorporating relevant exposure data into a Geographic Information System, and prepared community outreach materials; and communicated goals of project to local authorities and state officials. Dr. Aschengrau and her team have also conducted analyses on the relationship between early life exposure to PCE and the occurrence of placental associated disorders and the risk of cancer and other adverse health outcomes, and collaborated with the Analyzing Patterns in Epidemiologic and Toxicologic Data project on spatial analyses of risk taking behaviors and mental illness. The team of researchers have also prepared manuscripts on the impact of PCE exposure on brain structure (Janulewicz et al., 2013) and placental dysfunction disorders (Carwile et al., to be submitted for publication). Dr. Aschengrau also presented the results of this research at the BUSRP Training and Outreach Day (November 2013), the Brown University SRP Seminar Series (December 2013) and the Collaborative on Health and the Environment Partnership Call on "Superfund Contaminants and Reproduction" (February 2013), and led a roundtable discussion on the strengths and limitations of GIS-exposure assessment at the annual meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research (June 2013). Lastly, Dr. Patricia Janulewicz, a former SRP post-doctoral associate, received the Butcher New Investigator Award from the Neurobehavioral Teratology Society for her SRP research (Janulewicz P, White RF, Martin B, Winter MR, Weinberg JM, Vieira V, Aschengrau A. Adult Neuropsychological Performance Following Prenatal and Early Postnatal Exposure to Tetrachloroethylene (PCE)-contaminated Drinking Water. Neurotox Teratol, 2012; 34:350-359).


Findings published since Dr. Aschengrau and her team's last progress report suggest that exposure to PCE-contaminated water increase the vulnerability of pregnant women to placental dysfunction disorders such as stillbirth, placental abruption and preterm birth as well as the vulnerability of offspring to cancer later in life. These findings continue to provide a sound scientific basis for future risk assessments of PCE and related chemical contaminants and, ultimately, help protect the health of these sensitive populations.

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