Superfund Research Program
Community Engagement Core
Through an administrative supplement provide by the NIEHS, The RTC and the CEC successfully completed stated aims of evaluating the prevelance of PCBs in the air around New Bedford Harbor. They responded to concerns of the NBH community by measuring PCBs in ambient air at community-selected locations around the harbor. Importantly, the results suggested that people living within 625 meters of the Harbor shoreline are exposed to PCBs in air from the Harbor. There were no differences in air levels of PCBs during times of active dredging of the harbor and concentrations in air appear to have decreased with dredging. The RTC and trainees used the literature to document the thyroid as a target of PCB toxicity, finding the risks of effects on the thyroid are higher in people living closest to New Bedford Harbor. To our knowledge, this is the first study of its kind measuring airborne PCBs. As per the agreement with the community, RTC and CEC personnel reported findings back to the community in ways in which the impact of the studies could be understood.