Research Poster Competition Winners / Abstracts - Human Services
Human Services - 1st Place
Bottled Water: Is it Worth it? A Comparison of pH Levels of
Various Types of Bottled Water and Tap Water
By Breanna Ford, Stanley Laurent & Roniesia Godfrey,
Queensborough Community College
Body fluids are slightly alkaline, ranging from a pH of 7.35
to 7.45, (Kozier, p.1432). Humans generally ingest acidic
substances that can lead to increased oxidation of body tissues.
It is important that we balance our intake with less acidic
fluids. Recent research has focused on bottled water, addressing
the lack of fluoride and potentially harmful chemicals from
plastic (Jemmott, 2008). This project sought to answer whether
there are differences in the pH levels of bottled water and
The hypothesis is that tap water is more alkaline than bottled
water. Samples of tap water and various types of bottled water
were tested by pouring similar quantities into plastic containers.
An indicator solution was used to determine the pH of each
sample. Each sample was tested with a pH meter. There were
differences in the pH values obtained with the two methods
used. Our results showed that tap water pH was about 7.2,
whereas several bottled water samples tested were more acidic.
This study provides evidence that tap water may be more beneficial
than bottled water in maintaining the body’s normal
Human Services - 2nd Place
By Azeezat Azeez, Bronx Community College
Autism is a neurological disorder that effects the social
and behavioral interactions of a person. Also known as PPD
(Pervasive Developmental Disorder), autism symptoms can range
from “classical” (effects 1/1000 children), to
a milder form (effects 1/300 children). Autism is rapidly
increasing; about 1.5 million Americans have autism. Of all
autistic cases, 80% are males. There is no known cure or cause
for autism, but if diagnosed early, educational and therapeutic
interventions can improve symptoms.
Human Services - 1st Place
Quantitative Analysis of Mercury Excreted in Head Hair as
an Indicator of Autism Spectrum Disorder
By Charles Lamar, SUNY Old Westbury
Questions addressed by this study include: Is cold vapor
atomic absorption capable of quantitatively measuring the
level of mercury excreted in head hair? Can this data be used
in the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder? Do the values
of excreted mercury in autistic subjects correlate to their
placement within the autism spectrum as defined by the Childhood
Autism Rating Scale (CARS)?
Hair samples were obtained from control and autistic individuals.
Samples were acid extracted and analyzed using a Perkin Elmer
cold vapor atomic spectrometer. It was determined, through
the repeated analysis (n=20) of a control hair sample (mean
= .719 µg Hg/g of hair, Std. dev. = .092), that mercury
excreted in head hair can be quantitatively measured by this
procedure. There was a significantly higher amount of mercury
present in control samples, as compared to the autistic samples.
These results support the theory that autistic individuals
are unable to excrete mercury as effectively as non-autistic
individuals. Currently, participants are being evaluated using
a modified version of CARS, to test the possible correlation
of mercury excretion and placement of autistic subjects.
Human Services - 2nd Place
Teens are Unaware of Sexually Transmitted Diseases
By Katiana Pierre-Paul, Kingsborough Community College
There are an estimated nine million new cases of sexually
transmitted diseases/sexually transmitted infections (STD/STI)
infecting adolescents each year. Unfortunately, many young
adults are not being given enough educational information
to protect or prevent themselves from being infected. This
project uses data from an adolescent knowledge survey conducted
throughout a New York City high school and neighborhood. This
survey sought to find out how well young adults are educated
on preventing the transmission of STD’s/STI’s,
truths and myths about HIV/AIDS, and how frequently they use
It is hypothesized that adolescents who are better informed
of the truths and myths of these diseases and transmission
prevention, are at a lower risk of contracting these diseases.
Five hundred surveys were given out; 250 were given to females,
and 250 were given to males. Survey data was used to draw
Human Services - 3rd Place
Asthma in Adolescents
By Adam Sammons, Sebastian Placide & Shannon Zayas-Sanchez,
New York University School of Medicine
Asthma is a rising epidemic in the United States (US) that
that has become exceeding prevalent in the New York City area.
Almost 8.9 million children in the US have been diagnosed
with asthma. Asthma was found to be common in low income housing
communities and among economical deprived areas across the
US. In New York City, various communities such as East Harlem
and the South Bronx have the highest rates of asthma among
children due to housing in poor condition and air pollution
in these areas.
A survey was developed to assess asthma in low income New
York City communities that are believed to be prone to asthma.
Some key findings were in line with known asthma causing elements
(i.e., the abundance of truck traffic, people living near
highways, and the conditions of low income housing.) Through
research we have developed a program designed to inform the
public about asthma. Our goal is to raise awareness about
asthma among children and adults in these communities.