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DHHS Releases Timeline for Remainder of Pease Testing Program
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Division of Public Health Servicees
Publish Date:
December 22, 2015

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has announced the timeline for releasing test results to individuals who participated in the second round of the Pease Tradeport perfluorochemicals (PFCs) testing program. In May 2014, perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) was discovered in one of the wells that serves the Tradeport at levels above the provisional advisory level for drinking water set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Because of concerns about exposure to PFCs, DHHS offered PFC blood testing to anyone who worked or attended child care on the Tradeport and consumed contaminated water. A total of 1,575 individuals provided blood samples during the first and second rounds of the testing program, which occurred from April to October of 2015.

During the second round of sampling, which occurred from August to October 2015, 1,104 individuals provided blood samples for PFC testing. DHHS is determined to conclude testing and reporting of individual results to all participants by April 2016 and is therefore working with two labs in addition to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to expedite the testing process.

"This has been a long and complicated process and I know individuals anxiously await the results of their blood tests," said DHHS Commissioner Nick Toumpas. "I wish to thank the participants for their tremendous patience. These are uncharted waters and I commend DHHS staff, the Community Advisory Board, Portsmouth Regional Hospital, and our partners at the state, federal, and local level for their many contributions to the testing of the Pease community."

The CDC lab, which conducted testing and analysis for all 471 samples in round one of testing, is also testing the first 300 blood samples drawn during round two. DHHS anticipates beginning to mail individual results reports to participants in January 2016, once DHHS has received the results of the testing from the CDC laboratory.

Due to the volume of samples received during this second round of testing, however, no single laboratory was capable of testing all of the samples in a timely manner. Therefore, DHHS has finalized an agreement with AXYS Analytical laboratory to test 700 blood samples. DHHS began sending samples to AXYS in batches in early December. DHHS will be mailing results from AXYS to individuals as blood samples are tested and reported to DHHS in batches. DHHS anticipates beginning to receive results from AXYS in January with all test results from AXYS mailed to participants by the end of March 2016.

Additionally, DHHS just finalized an agreement with the Public Health Institute on behalf of the State of California to test the remaining approximately 100 samples, with results to be mailed to individuals by April 2016. Once all the results from the second round of testing are completed and mailed, DHHS will prepare a final analysis and report on the entire testing program for tentative release in May, followed by a public meeting to discuss the testing program as a whole with members of the community.

For individuals who missed the DHHS PFC 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:

  • Vista Analytical Laboratory (phone: 916-673-1520, website: http://www.vista-analytical.com): offers testing for a panel of PFCs, including PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS, and PFNA.
  • NMS Laboratory (phone: 866-522-2206, website: http://www.nmslabs.com): offers testing for PFOA.

The Pease Tradeport previously operated as an Air Force base from 1956 to 1991. It is suspected that firefighting foam used by the Air Force starting around 1970 for plane crashes and training exercises contained PFCs that leached into the ground and consequently contaminated the well. PFCs have been used for decades in many commercial and home 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 and in people's bodies. They do not break down easily in the environment and can remain in our bodies for extended periods of time, so PFCs can be detected in the blood of most people. Studies evaluating health effects of PFCs have been inconsistent and sometimes contradictory. Because of this, it is unclear what health effects might occur from finding PFCs in a person's blood.

For more information on the Pease water situation and the testing program, visit http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/investigation-pease.htm. For more information about monitoring of the water by the NH Department of Environmental Services, go to http://des.nh.gov/organization/divisions/waste/hwrb/fss/superfund/summaries/documents/pease.pdf Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol.

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