With the Cape Cod Parent Resource Fair rapidly approaching we will be sharing blog posts on our participating sponsors, vendors and nonprofits. You will find out more about these amazing businesses and what they offer to our community. They will be sharing their services, advice, what challenges face our community as well as upcoming events they will be having. Make sure to check out our virtual program and resource guide ahead of the event so you can plan for what you want to see including our famous speaker panels. If you preregister for the speakers you will earn extra raffle tickets. You also earn them by attending any of our entertainment sessions! Just email us and you will receive tickets at the door! We hope to see you at the Resource Fair!
Tell us about your business/non profit and how it benefits local families?
STEEP is a partnership of the University of Rhode Island, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Silent Spring Institute to study a class of chemicals called PFAS. PFAS are part of our everyday lives – they are added to nonstick, stain-resistant, and waterproof consumer products such as carpets and upholstery, waterproof clothing, cookware, food packaging, and even some dental floss. PFAS chemicals have been found in public water supplies across the U.S., including in Hyannis and Mashpee. In addition to studying PFAS in private wells on Cape Cod, STEEP is sharing resources with the community about PFAS and ways to reduce exposure.
Where is it located?
STEEP is led by the University of Rhode Island (Kingston, RI) in collaboration with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Boston, MA) and Silent Spring Institute (Newton, MA). Our community partners include Sierra Club Cape Cod Group and Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition.
What is your favorite thing about our community?
We are deeply appreciative of the partnerships we have developed with the many Cape residents who have volunteered for our private well study. Our participants have been incredibly generous with their time, welcoming us into their homes to collect samples and sharing invaluable local knowledge to help our study team better understand sources of PFAS in Cape groundwater. We’re so inspired by Cape residents working to protect water quality and preserve the Cape’s beautiful natural environment.
How else do you get involved with the community?
STEEP’s private well study is testing 250 private wells on Cape Cod and sharing results with members of the community and local officials.
Additionally, STEEP researchers organize and attend community events to share research-based tips on reducing exposure to PFAS and new findings in our ongoing studies of PFAS on Cape Cod.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing parents in our community?
Many Cape Cod residents rely on septic systems to treat their wastewater, but septic systems are the largest source of nitrate pollution into groundwater on the Cape. Prior studies of wells on Cape Cod have shown that wells with higher levels of nitrate are also more likely to contain contaminants of emerging concern, such as pharmaceuticals and consumer product chemicals. While public drinking water systems are required to test and treat water, private wells are not and can be more locally impacted by nearby septic systems. It is important for private well owners to get their well tested at least once per year and to track levels of common contaminants over time.
What is your favorite memory or story over the years involving you and your business?
At our most recent STEEP Science Day event, we invited local high school students to hear from STEEP researchers about careers in science and water quality in their communities. The students were deeply engaged and asked thoughtful questions of our research team. We loved having the opportunity to share our work with the next generation of future scientists!
What advice would you give parents and caregivers in our community?
PFAS chemicals are found in a wide variety of consumer products (think nonstick, stain resistant, waterproof, and greaseproof items) and sometimes in drinking water. We can all take steps to reduce our PFAS exposure, lower our chemical footprint, and protect Cape Cod drinking water. Visit the STEEP website (web.uri.edu/steep) to find research-based tips to help reduce your family’s exposure to PFAS.
Do you have any specials, events, or anything else taking place this upcoming year that our parents should know about?
STEEP holds an annual Science Day event on Cape Cod where community members can hear from STEEP researchers about PFAS in the environment and health effects.
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