Emily Roberts has become an expert at juggling an assortment of responsibilities in and out of school. The Huntington High School junior has a full and challenging academic schedule and holds down a part-time job while simultaneously spending many hours each week working on an intriguing science research project.
The teenager is involved in surveying the usage of personal care products that are known to contain endocrine disrupting chemicals.
“I will administer a survey that has lists of personal care products such as cosmetics, toothpaste, shampoos, etc.,” Ms. Roberts said. “These products will be known to contain chemicals that disrupt the way the body secretes and produces hormones. I want to see how many people are unknowingly using products that contain harmful chemicals. I want to help inform people about these chemicals and how to limit their exposure.”
The fact that Ms. Roberts is afraid to work hard is obvious. She is always on the lookout for a challenging pursuit; something that will help her grow intellectually and expand her horizons. Her current project involving the use of harmful chemicals fits the bill.
“I learned much more than I already knew about these chemicals through my internship with the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition,” Ms. Roberts said. “I did a lot of researching different chemicals over the summer and I found that teenagers are disproportionately exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals because they use more products and cosmetics than other age groups. I want to educate people my age about the harmful products they use today, and if they limit their exposure now they can reduce health implications in the future.”
Ms. Roberts said she first began researching endocrine disrupting chemicals last year for a research project that utilized the chemical known as atrazine. “I tested it to determine how it would affect the behavior of fiddler crabs,” she said.
Who knows? Ms. Roberts’ current project and its findings just might save someone’s life or the lives of many.