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Your Environment. Your Health.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Superfund Research Program

Analysis of Causes of Mortality in the Aberjona and Mystic Valley Populations: Comparison to Massachusetts and United States Experience

Project Leader: William G. Thilly
Grant Number: P42ES004675
Funding Period: 1995 - 2000

Project Summary (1995-2000)

The purpose of this project is to study the mutational spectra in blood cells sampled from residents of East Woburn, West Woburn, Arlington and West Medford to discover if the genetic effects of chromium may be found in exposed residents. Before samples are elicited for analysis, childhood hair samples saved by families are collected and analyzed to discover if and when the calculated heavy metal exposure occurred. Five multi-generational families who collectively represent persons of both genders, a wide distribution of ages and European and African ancestry are enrolled. In particular, two families living primarily in East Woburn 1960 - 1990 were sought whose source of drinking water was the municipal water supply. Initially, fifty mutational spectra were obtained from fifty donors. Analysis of differences among spectra within or among families in the studies are performed. If successful, the basis will be laid for a new and valuable way to discover the amount and kinds of mutations in human populations and offer the means to identify environmental causes, if any, of genetic change in humans.

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