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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. We are actively looking at options where individuals can get their blood tested for PFCs on their own. When a process has been identified, we will make this information available. 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, almost 1,100 individuals submitted blood samples for testing. This volume is beyond the capacity for a single lab to handle, so DHHS is working to secure contracts with other labs in addition to sending samples to CDC to complete this testing. As soon as it became evident that there would be a high volume of participants, DHHS staff began working on the process to contract with additional labs. Once contracts are complete, samples will be promptly sent to these labs. The blood samples are being stored safely by DHHS in the meantime. The labs will be testing the blood samples in batches. Due to the high volume of samples, we expect the entire process to take longer in phase II than it did in phase I. 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. We will provide additional information as we finalize the timeline for distributing individual results, preparing a final report and conducting a community meeting to discuss the final report. Check this site frequently for updates.

lab technician doing testingThe 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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New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
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