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Press Release

NH Department of Health and Human Services Offering Testing for People Who Consumed Contaminated Pease Water
Contact:
Public Information Office
(603) 271-9389

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Division of Public Health Services
Publish Date:
March 19, 2015

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health Services is offering testing to people who consumed water from the Pease Tradeport water system that was determined in May 2014 to have levels of PFCs (perfluorochemicals) above the provisional health advisory levels set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The contaminated well was immediately shut down by the City of Portsmouth. The testing is being offered as a public service at the request of the affected community.

As details are finalized, the expectation is to start the blood drawing in the first week of April. Those people who may be eligible for the testing are those who were working or attending child care on the Pease Tradeport when the well was shut down in May 2014 and who consumed water from the Pease Water System. People who meet these guidelines and are interested in getting tested are invited to call the DHHS information line for this program at 603-271-9461 Monday-Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. A public meeting to provide details about the testing program is also being planned to occur in the next few weeks.

PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) are chemicals known as perfluorochemicals (PFCs). PFCs are a family of man-made chemicals that have been used for decades in the production of products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. PFCs are commonly used in the manufacturing of nonstick cookware, stain-resistant carpets, fabric coatings, some food packaging (especially microwave popcorn bags and fast food wrappers), firefighting foam, and in many other industrial applications. Many chemicals in this group, including PFOS and PFOA, are present in the environment, but they do not break down easily. It was the PFOS level in the Haven Well that was above the EPA provisional health advisory level.

"We are responding to the public request to know more about the level of PFOS and PFOA in their blood," said Dr. JosÉ Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS. "Unfortunately, no one knows what a typical level is or if these chemicals harm a person's health. Most people in the United States have some level of these chemicals in their blood because PFCs are so pervasive in our environment. We hope this testing will offer reassurance to people who are understandably concerned about this situation."

For more information about the Pease Superfund site and water monitoring visit the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services at http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/waste/hwrb/fss/superfund/summaries/documents/pease.pdf Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol. To learn more about the water system at Pease, visit the City of Portsmouth website at http://www.cityofportsmouth.com/publicworks/phwn.html. To read more about this investigation visit the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services at http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/investigation-pease.htm.

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New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
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