The Children’s Health Study is a research project funded by the Ralph W. and Grace M. Showalter Research Trust. The study will focus on what are the potential effects of low-level long-term exposure of PCE/TCE upon childhood neurological and behavioral development.

Why We Do It – PCE is a known neurotoxicant. High levels of exposure among industry workers have been associated with a specific set of neurological effects. The health effects of exposure in communities near or on hazardous waste sites are unclear, where community members’ exposure is low-level but long-term and continuous. Of particular concern is that children may be more vulnerable to PCE exposure because of the developmental stages that they are in.

What We Are Doing – We plan to enroll 80 children (6-11 years old) from the Martinsville community and measure their exposure to PCE and other volatile organic compounds in exhaled breath samples, as well as in indoor air and possibly drinking water samples. We will assess neurobehavioral performance with a set of validated age-appropriate tests. 


Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) contamination and children’s health in Martinsville, IN Researchers from Purdue University are looking for volunteers from the Martinsville, IN area to participate in a study about low-level PCE chemical exposure and its potential impact on children’s health: cognitive skills, academic skills, and reported behavior.


Children are more vulnerable than adults to chemicals found in the environment because:

• children typically have a higher intake of air, water, and food in relation to their body weight;

• children’s bodies and body systems are still developing and they may be less able to process or eliminate some chemicals. This could make them more sensitive to harm from these substances;

• exposure to certain environmental chemicals during pregnancy or early childhood, when they may be sensitive to developmental effects, may result in negative effects on children’s health;

• children spend more time in direct contact with surfaces when they crawl and will often put things (toys, dirt, etc.) in their mouths. Both of these behaviors mean they can accidentally ingest harmful chemicals;

• young children tend to have a less varied diet than adults. As a result, they may eat larger quantities, on a bodyweight basis, of a smaller range of foods. This unique diet may result in greater exposure to certain chemicals if present in food;

• exposure to environmental chemicals beginning at a young age can potentially lead to longer-term cumulative exposures over a lifetime, which could then result in effects. Some childhood exposures could affect health in adulthood;

• children are largely unaware of and have minimal or little control over the hazards to which they may be exposed.

What are the health risks to children associated with chemicals?

Children may be exposed to chemicals in indoor and outdoor air, water, soil, house dust, food, and consumer products. In the settings where they live, learn, and play. In addition, the fetus may possibly be exposed to chemicals during pregnancy, as certain chemicals can cross the placenta. Nursing infants may also be exposed to chemicals that may be present in breast milk.”

To participate:

Complete the Showalter Project Eligibility Survey:

Virtual Information Sessions on Every Thursday at 8 PM:

Visit Purdue-Martinsville PCE Study Facebook group for more information:

Below, the crwater is for the Robert Woods Johnson-funded well and groundwater testing program. Scanning code #1 will take you to a general survey. #2 will take you to a sign-up form for the well testing program that is underway.