Over the years in Michigan, we’ve seen many situations where people have been exposed to contaminants in the environment that can harm their health which includes lead and PFAS. Now a statewide study is in the works to better understand the impact of that exposure.
The study is called MI-CARES.
U of M’s Rogel Cancer Center and the school of public health are currently recruiting 100 thousand men and women between the ages of 25 and 44 to participate remotely, with some mailing in test kits to the lab for the large study.
The goal is to identify how environmental contamination affects our health and who may be most at risk, from contaminated water and soil to other invisible risks around us.
“We’re evaluating environmental exposures and different intermediate health outcomes with the idea to protect individuals from cancer,” said MI-CARES Principle investigator Dana Dolinoy, PH.D.
But Dolinoy says the research won’t stop there.
“Because environmental exposures may affect other things, we will also be able to evaluate heart disease, diabetes, and other disease endpoints to identify which of the thousands of chemicals that were exposed to can impact our health,” Dolinoy said.
Researchers will also assess how other factors like race, socioeconomic status, and lifestyle affect the relationships between the environment and our health.
Study leaders say the findings may help impact policy and medical interventions to reduce the risk of disease.
“This will be very powerful to identify potential avenues for policy interventions, like let’s get PFAS out of our waterways, or various different health interventions,” Dolinoy said.
They’re hoping to recruit a diverse group of participants to help protect not just today’s Michiganders but those to come.
“By doing this in a population level, you will be contributing to future health of the state of Michigan and beyond,” Dolinoy said.
Recruitment for the MI-CARES study will last at least six years, with the team looking to follow participants for decades after to see and understand the health issues they may develop.
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