Studying the impact of early life exposure to PCE and social stressors on unhealthy alcoholic beverage consumption and illicit drug use.
Boston University School of Public Health
Tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene, PCE) is a widely used solvent in dry cleaning, textile processing, and metal degreasing. Because most of its use occurs in uncontrolled occupational settings, PCE is a common contaminant of U.S. public drinking water supplies and hazardous waste sites. From 1968 to 1990, families across New England were exposed to PCE when it leached into their drinking water from the vinyl lining of asbestos cement water distribution pipes. Studies of adults with occupational exposure to PCE and closely related solvents have shown impairment of visuospatial function; memory, attention and executive skills; mood changes; and increased prevalence of cerebral pathology. There is now emerging evidence for neurotoxic effects from prenatal and childhood exposures, critical periods of vulnerability for the developing nervous system.
Our prior birth cohort study found that early life exposure to PCE-contaminated drinking water was associated with substance use during adolescence and adulthood. Building on this research, this study will focus on whether early life exposure to PCE and social stressors, alone and in combination, increase the subsequent occurrence of substance use during adolescence and adulthood.
We will (1) examine the dose-response relationship between early life exposure to PCE-contaminated drinking water and substance use during adolescence and adulthood, including illicit drug use and unhealthy alcoholic beverage consumption; (2) examine the dose-response relationship between early life exposure to social stressors (such as childhood abuse and neglect, household dysfunction, negative peer relationships and neighborhood violence) and substance use during adolescence and adulthood; and (3) examine how the relationship between early life exposure to PCE-contaminated drinking water and subsequent substance use is modified by early life exposure to social stressors.
By using an interdisciplinary approach to assess a combination of chemical and social stressors during a susceptible life stage, this research will provide preliminary data for a larger future study and help improve our understanding of the complex etiology of substance use, a condition associated with substantial morbidity and mortality in the US with enormous health, social, and economic costs.
- Project 1 Brochure
- SRP Research Brief No. 270: Prenatal PCE Exposure and Maternal Alcohol Use Linked to Increased Risks of Teenage Drug Use
- External Advisory Committee Presentation: A PDF of the presentation Dr. Aschengrau gave to the BUSRP External Advisory Committee on March 20, 2007.
- JUN 2017 BUSRP program-wide meeting strengthens collaborations
- JUN 2017 Project 1 featured in SRP Research Brief
- MAY 2017 Ann Aschengrau gives two talks on contaminated drinking water
- NOV 2016 Project 1 publication shows association between childhood fish consumption and ADHD
- SEP 2016 Ann Aschengrau profiled on BU Research
- JUL 2016 Dr. Aschengrau presents at Canadian Society for Epidemiology and Biostatistics conference
- JUL 2016 Projects 1 and 2 present at 2016 Epidemiology Congress of the Americas
- JUL 2016 Article on water quality at Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympics
- DEC 2015 Project 1 attends brown-bag lunch event at MassDEP
- OCT 2015 BUSRP investigators participate in Research on Tap
- OCT 2015 Upcoming Event: CHE – BUSRP Call on Communicating the Science of TCE and PCE
- OCT 2015 2015-2016 EH Seminar features BUSRP Investigators
- SEP 2015 SRP research focus of EPA Diversity Event
- JUL 2015 Latest publication applies Project 2’s GAM to mental health
- MAY 2015 Dr. Aschengrau named Associate Editor of Environmental Health
- MAY 2015 Risks of Cervical Cancer, Epilepsy, Higher after Early Exposure to PCE-Contaminated Water
- APR 2015 SRP Researchers Contribute to VA Clinical Guidance for Camp Lejeune Veterans
- JAN 2015 Latest Podcast: What Was In Our Water?
- NOV 2014 Lindsey Butler ties for 1st place at BUSPH Research Day
- OCT 2014 Latest BUSRP study linked contaminated water to pregnancy complications
- SEP 2014 Project 1 attends ACE’s EJ Toxic Tour!
- AUG 2014 BUSRP at ISEE 2014
- MAY 2014 BUSRP at EPA Regional Science Council Forum
- MAY 2014 BUSPH Practicum Student Laura Kalpas Presents GIS work on Project 1
- APR 2014 Dr. Aschengrau speaks at Museum of Science Earth Day Event
- DEC 2013 Training & Outreach Day at the Museum of Science, Boston
- AUG 2013 Collaborative work receives SRP supplement award
- JUL 2013 Patricia Janulewicz wins 2013 Richard Butcher New Invesitgator Award
- JUL 2012 Project 1 Links PCE Exposure and Vision Effects
- MAY 2012 Dr. Aschengrau (Project 1) presents in EPA webinar
- JAN 2012 New Publication from Project 1
- DEC 2011 Project 1 findings featured in Cape Cod Times
- SEP 2010 Aschengrau translates BUSRP research on NPR
- SEP 2010 Projects 1 and 2 featured in NIEHS SRP Research Brief
- JUN 2010 Summary of recent Cape Cod breast cancer publication
- MAY 2009 New publication in Water Quality, Exposure, and Health
- MAR 2009 New publication from Projects 2 & 1
- AUG 2008 New publication from projects 1 and 2 in the International Journal of Health Geographics
- JUN 2008 Two new publications from Project 1
- MAY 2008 Patricia Janulewicz completes her thesis defense
- MAY 2008 Greg Howard completes thesis defense
- APR 2008 Ann Aschengrau responds to a new question in our “Ask the Researcher” forum