Skip to content
  • Born too soon

    The Chronicle of Higher Education - 07/28/2014

    Soon after Cordero’s return, two engineers appeared at his door. One, Ingrid Y. Padilla, was a slight, wry hydrologist from a west-coast campus of the university; the other, Akram N. Alshawabkeh, an expert in groundwater remediation, came from Northeastern University. They told Cordero that Puerto Rico has one of the nation’s highest concentrations of Superfund sites, those peak indicators of contamination. Much of the pollution is found on the north coast, west of San Juan, where decades ago pharmaceutical companies, spurred by tax incentives, set up shop. After those tax breaks expired, in 2006, the manufacturers fled, but their waste lingered.

    The engineers had their eyes on a Superfund-focused research grant at the National Institutes of Health. Surely this chemical waste must pose a health risk, but they were at a loss to say what, or how. Cordero had just the problem for them. His team had looked at the risk factors for preterm birth, and none explained Puerto Rico’s high rate. Could it be something in the water?

  • Cookies on Northeastern sites

    This website uses cookies and similar technologies to understand your use of our website and give you a better experience. By continuing to use the site or closing this banner without changing your cookie settings, you agree to our use of cookies and other technologies. To find out more about our use of cookies and how to change your settings, please go to our Privacy Statement.