June 2, 2009
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$45,000 granted from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust
Silent Spring Institute received a financial boost with a $45,000 grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (the Trust) to continue studies of how endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs, chemicals that affect hormones) and pharmaceuticals may be leaching from septic systems into Cape Cod drinking water supplies.
According to Trust Director Dorrie Pizzella, the Trust will provide over $500,000 dollars 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 in sustaining our drinking water studies on Cape Cod. This year’s research will add crucial information about hormonal pollutants, so Cape Cod communities can shape effective water protection efforts,” stated Silent Spring Institute Executive Director Dr. Julia Brody.
With the new grant, Silent Spring Institute researchers will test Cape Cod water supply wells for excreted hormones, pharmaceuticals, and pollutants from household and personal care products. Previous research, 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 local ecosystems. The new study will guide local decisions about handling of domestic wastewater on Cape Cod, which currently relies almost entirely on septic systems despite its relatively dense population and dependence on a shallow sole-source aquifer for drinking water.
To preserve 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 plates cost $76.00, which includes a $40.00 tax deductible donation to the Trust. Visit your local Registry of Motor Vehicles or order a plate online at www.mass.gov/rmv/express/plates.htm; or visit the Massachusetts Environmental Trust's web page 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 www.silentspring.org.