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Investigation into Contaminant Found in Pease Tradeport Water System

The blood testing program offered by the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in response to the discovery of contamination of the Pease well has ended. The blood testing program ran from April–October 2015. For individuals who missed the DHHS perfluorochemicals (PFCs) blood testing program but would still like to know their blood PFC levels, DHHS has identified two laboratories that offer testing to individuals through their primary care providers. Information about their testing process, panel of PFCs tested, and pricing can be obtained by calling the numbers listed below and/or visiting their website:

In the first phase of testing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lab tested all of the 466 samples. In the second phase, over 1,100 individuals submitted blood samples for testing. We anticipate the results will all be sent to individuals by April 2016. Once all the blood samples that have been collected are tested and individual results are sent to each participant, we will create a report analyzing all of the results and conduct a community meeting to discuss the final report.

lab technician doing testing

The Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) in collaboration with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) is responding to a positive test result for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) in a water sample from a well that serves the Pease Tradeport and the NH Air National Guard Base at Pease. Because the level exceeds the "provisional health advisory" set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the well was immediately shut down by the City of Portsmouth. PFOS is one of a family of chemicals called PFCs for perfluorochemicals. PFCs have been used for decades in many commercial products, such as stain-resistant carpeting, fire-fighting foam, nonstick cookware, fabric coatings, and some food packaging. As a result, they are found throughout the environment. They are also very persistent, and do not break down readily in the environment, or in our bodies. Consequently, PFCs can be detected in the blood stream of most people.

The other two wells at Pease did not contain PFCs above the provisional health advisory level. The water supply for the City of Portsmouth was checked as well out of an abundance of caution and the levels were within the health advisory level.

If you have any questions, please contact the DHHS Emergency Services Unit at (603) 271-9461.

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