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BOZEMAN — An assistant nursing professor at Montana State University has won a three-year, $350,000 grant to study exposure of methylmercury in women of childbearing age on the Fort Peck Reservation.

Sandra Kuntz’s project will replicate studies done on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

Kuntz said the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant will help her and her community partners identify and reduce infant illness and mortality related to environmental toxins.

Kuntz said she, Indian Health Service nurses and employees of the tribal environmental protection agency will study risk awareness, fish consumption patterns and actual exposure to methylmercury in women of childbearing age.

Methylmercury is a toxin that can cause permanent damage to the brain and nervous system, especially in fetuses and children.

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