This project is in cooperation with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to support NCI's epidemiological study of factors that may be associated with the high incidence of bladder cancer in the New England Region. The project involves 3 major tasks. In the first task, USGS assisted NCI in designing the water-sampling protocol, because certain contaminants (eg. arsenic and nitrate) are more common in specific aquifers and in specific geochemical settings.
In the second task, USGS is locating and sampling wells at past residences of study subjects. Residential and water-use histories collected during subject interviews are being used to locate former residences and wells, determine current owners, obtain permissions to sample, and collect ground-water samples that will be analyzed for inorganic and radiochemical constituents, and nitrate-N. Locating and sampling efforts are now being targeted to areas with the greatest likelihood for having arsenic above 5 µg/L (or 0.005 mg/L)
Finally, USGS is constructing a regional, statistically based model for predicting arsenic concentrations in the ground waters of bedrock aquifers of Northern New England (Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont). This spatial-statistical model will be used to estimate the arsenic exposure of study subjects who used private wells that cannot be sampled. The model is based on regional-scale geologic, hydrologic, geochemical, and land-use factors. Staff from the USGS geology discipline, the USGS NAWQA Program, and NCI are involved in model development.