MI-CARES: The Michigan Cancer and Research on the Environment Study

University of Michigan

The Michigan Cancer and Research on the Environment Study (MI-CARES)

The Michigan Cancer and Research on the Environment Study (MI-CARES) wants to understand the impact of known and suspected Environmental Exposures on the health of Michigan residents, particularly Cancer risk.

People in Michigan have been and continue to be exposed to chemicals in the environment such as air pollution, PFAs, and metals, but researchers don’t have a good understanding of the impact these exposures have on health, including the risk for Cancer. Information learned from this study may help researchers learn about whether and how these Environmental Exposures cause health problems like Cancer and may help researchers find ways to prevent Cancer and other diseases. It is important that Michiganders from all backgrounds participate in this study so that the results will apply to everyone.

The Environmental Exposures being studied include air pollution, metals (like Lead and Arsenic), Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAs), noise, and chemicals in personal care products (like shampoo). The study will also assess how other factors, including where you live and work, socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, and lifestyle, impact the relationships between the environment and health outcomes.

Michigan has experienced a number of Environmental Exposures over the years which makes studying the impact of these environmental contaminants on the health of Michigan residents so important.

Who can be involved?

MI-CARES will enroll equal numbers of men and women, aged 25 to 44 years old, living in Michigan. An emphasis of Recruitment will be in areas identified with higher levels of Environmental Exposures (environmental hotspots). Those locations include the Detroit Metro area, Flint, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing and the “Tri Cities” area of Saginaw, Midland, and Bay City.

Link to Study website

For more information on the study, how to become involved and upcoming outreach events, click on the link below.

Link to study website : https://www.micares.health/

MI-CARES team in the community

Environmental Exposures of Interest


What physical, chemical, biological, or behavioral factors external to a person is MI-CARES focusing on?

  • Air pollution
  • Metals (like Lead and Arsenic)
    • Lead, a metal found throughout the earth, has been used in a variety of products including gasoline, paint, plumbing pipes, ceramics, solders, batteries, and even cosmetics. It remains a significant public health concern for some children because of persistent Lead hazards in the environment.” Source
    •  “Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that is widely distributed in the Earth’s crust. It is found in water, air, food, and soil. Exposure to Arsenic affects human health.” Source
  • Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAs)
    • PFAs are widely used, long lasting chemicals, components of which break down very slowly over time. Scientific studies have shown that exposure to some PFAs in the environment may be linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals.” Source
  • Noise
  • Chemicals often found in personal care products

Outcomes of Interest

What is MI-CARES trying to do and find out about through this study?

  • Inflammation
    • “If a cut on your skin swells up, turns red, and hurts, those symptoms are signs of acute, or short-lived, Inflammation. Feeling hot or losing function may be signs of Inflammation from other harm to your body. Some Inflammation that occurs in your body’s cells or tissues may not have outward symptoms. Inflammation is a normal part of the body’s defense to injury or infection, and, in this way, it is beneficial. But Inflammation is damaging when it occurs in healthy tissues or lasts too long. Known as chronic Inflammation, it may persist for months or years. Inflammation may result from many factors, such as: environmental chemicals; injuries like scrapes, insect stings, or a splinter in your finger; pathogens (germs) like bacteria, viruses, or fungi; radiation.” Source
  • Cellular Aging
    • “In 1961, Cellular Aging was first described by Hayflick and Moorhead. They showed that human cells in culture do not divide indefinitely but reach a limit (called the Hayflick limit) of replication and stop all further division. Cells approach this limit by slowing their divisions and entering cellular senescence, a dormant period. Recently, for damaged cells, this pathway of cellular progression has been considered an alternative to apoptosis (cell suicide). Both DNA damage and insufficient telomere replication are common signals leading to these events. When the cell does not trigger either of these pathways, it can become cancerous.” Source
  • Epigenetic regulation
  • Immune function
  • Metabolomics
    • “The scientific study of chemical processes involving metabolites, the small molecule substrates, intermediates, and products of cell metabolism. Specifically, Metabolomics is the “systematic study of the unique chemical fingerprints that specific cellular processes leave behind”, the study of their small-molecule metabolite profiles.” Source

MI-CARES Principal Investigators

Dana Dolinoy, PhD
Bhramar Mukherjee, PhD
Celeste Leigh Pearce, PhD, MPH