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New England Bladder Cancer Study: Constructing contaminant exposure history by sampling and analysis at former private drinking water wells

Study area:
New England

Project Summary:

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 g/L (or 0.005 mg/L)

Sample image from New England model showing the probability of arsenic occurring in bedrock water at or above 5 ug/LFinally, 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.

Project duration:
2000 - 2006

National Cancer Institute (NCI) and NAWQA Program

Project chief:
Joseph Ayotte

Contact information:
Project number:
NH A7400

Related Publications:

Modeling the Probability of Arsenic in Groundwater in New England as a Tool for Exposure Assessment: Environmental Science and Technology Journal, v. 40, no.11

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
New Hampshire/Vermont Office, USGS, 331 Commerce Way, Pembroke, NH 03275, USA
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Last Updated January 8, 2013
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