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Lagrangeville Students Top Winners In Lexus Eco Challenge

"The Endocrime Fighters" are, from left: Kira Murphy, John Furcick, Luke Hagin, Jamie Constantino and Hali Pregnall.
"The Endocrime Fighters" are, from left: Kira Murphy, John Furcick, Luke Hagin, Jamie Constantino and Hali Pregnall. Photo Credit: Provided

LAGRANGEVILLE, N.Y. -- A team of student scientists from Arlington High School in Lagrangeville have turned a project on hormones and the environment into $40,000 windfall for their school.

Winners of the Grand Prize in the annual Lexus Eco Challenge are “The Endocrime Fighters.”

Arlington was one of 32 middle and high school teams selected as finalists in the challenge that drew more than 1,535 student participants.

The Lagrangeville team, led by biology teacher/advisor Maribel Pregnall, took on endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) -- chemicals that prevent normal functioning of hormones and can cause other negative effects -- as their entry in the Land and Water challenge this year.

The team found that the disruptors can be found in everyday personal care products such as sunscreen and hand lotion.

They produced their own homemade lotion and lip balm and lobbied for EDC-free soap for their school district, requesting it be replaced with a safer alternative.

The team also connected with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics about the organization’s recent efforts to get bills passed that would make personal-care products safer for human use, according to a statement from Lexus.

The grand prize of $30,000 was given to the top high school team, and a middle-school team.

The middle school grand prize winners were "Aquaponics," a team for the Christa McAuliffe School in Jersey City, N.J.

The grand prize is divvied up into a $7,000 grant for the school, a $3,000 grant for the team’s teacher adviser, and $20,000 in scholarships for the students to share.

Arlington also got $10,000 when its team placed as a finalist.

For more information about the Lexus challenge, click here.

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