Silent Spring Institute granted license plate funds for Cape Cod water research

$50,000 granted from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust

With a $50,000 grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (the Trust), Silent Spring Institute will continue studies of how endocrine disrupting compounds, pharmaceuticals and other chemicals may be leaching from septic systems into Cape Cod drinking water supplies.  Endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) are chemicals that can affect hormones.

According to Trust Director Dorrie Pizzella, the Trust will provide over $500,000 in grants to more than 30 organizations this year, thanks to motorists who choose to purchase one of the Trust’s specialty license plates.  “Trust plates, including our signature Whale Plate, are the only specialty plates that exclusively fund environmental initiatives,” said Pizzella.  “You purchase a plate from the Registry of Motor Vehicles and half the registry fee is donated to the Trust to fund water-focused environmental research, education, and protection programs.”

The Trust has grown to become the Commonwealth’s premier environmental philanthropy since its inception in 1988. Its primary source of income is environmental license plate revenue which has funded more than 400 grants totaling approximately $15 million.

“The Massachusetts Environmental Trust has been instrumental insustaining our water studies on Cape Cod.  Our study of private wellswill provide valuable information to Cape citizens about EDCs and othercontaminants in their drinking water and to Cape communities for futuredecisions about managing wastewater and protecting the Cape’s aquifer,which provides drinking water to all Cape residents.” - SilentSpring Institute’s Executive Director, Dr. Julia Brody

With the new grant, Silent Spring Institute researchers will test private drinking water wells on Cape Cod for excreted hormones, pharmaceuticals, and pollutants from household and personal care products.  Previous Silent Spring Institute research about water pollution on the Cape, supported by the Trust and published in 5 scientific articles, found that EDCs and pharmaceuticals are discharged from septic systems and are present in groundwater and ponds across the Cape.  These pollutants are of potential concern for human health, including breast cancer, and for local ecosystems.  In May, Silent Spring Institute released a study, also supported by the Trust, that showed pharmaceuticals, flame retardants and other contaminants in public drinking water wells throughout Cape Cod.  Results highlighted the need to develop new policies to protect public water supplies from wastewater contamination.  This year’s study of private wells, which provide drinking water to tw enty percent of Cape residents, will provide a more complete picture of the vulnerability of the Cape’s drinking water supply to pollutants from septic systems and other sources of groundwater contamination.

“The Massachusetts Environmental Trust has been instrumental in sustaining our water studies on Cape Cod.  Our study of private wells will provide valuable information to Cape citizens about EDCs and other contaminants in their drinking water and to Cape communities for future decisions about managing wastewater and protecting the Cape’s aquifer, which provides drinking water to all Cape residents,” stated Silent Spring Institute’s Executive Director, Dr. Julia Brody.

To preserve the environmental education, conservation or public awareness efforts funded by the Trust in your community is easy: choose one of three environmental plates, the Right Whale & Roseate Terns, the Leaping Brook Trout, or the Blackstone Valley Mill when you purchase a new car or renew your registration with the Registry of Motor Vehicles.  The initial registration fee for your new plate is $50.00.  The special plate fee is an additional $40.00 ($28.00 is tax-deductible; $12.00 is to manufacture the plate).  Total first-time cost of your Specialty Plate is $90.  There is a renewal fee of $90 every two years.  Visit your local Registry of Motor Vehicles or order a plate online at http://www.mass.gov/rmv/, or visit the Massachusetts Environmental Trust's website where you can learn more about the Trust, the programs it supports, and the specialty license plate offerings.

Founded in 1994, Silent Spring Institute is a non-profit research organization dedicated to studying the environment's effect on women's health.  For more information, please visit http://www.silentspring.org.

Courtesy of Silent Spring.

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