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NH DHHS to Offer PFC Blood Testing to Residents Impacted by PFC Contamination in Drinking Water
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Public Information Office
(603) 271-9290

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Division of Public Health Services
Publish Date:
June 15, 2016

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will offer the opportunity for blood testing to residents whose drinking water supply has been contaminated with perfluorochemicals (PFCs). Elevated levels of PFCs have been found in the drinking water on the Pease Tradeport and in private wells in Southern New Hampshire.

"We are following the data and offering blood testing to communities that have been exposed to PFC contamination," said DHHS Commissioner Jeffrey A. Meyers. "While we do not yet know the exact health impacts of PFC exposure in humans, blood testing will help individual residents understand their exposure levels, and will provide the State with meaningful data on PFC exposure in the affected populations. We continue to work with and inform healthcare providers about PFC exposure to help them monitor the health of their patients who were exposed to PFCs."

In May 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Lifetime Health Advisory that recommend that people cease consuming water that contains levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), or PFOA and PFOS combined above 70 parts per trillion (ppt). Beginning in March 2016, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) began investigating the presence of PFCs in drinking water in the State.

DHHS will offer testing to individuals who worked on, lived on, or attended child care on the Pease Tradeport, where a well was found to have elevated levels of PFCs in May 2014. DHHS will also offer blood testing to residents of Amherst, Bedford, Litchfield, Manchester, and Merrimack who reside on streets that are served by private water drinking wells that have registered PFOA and/or PFOS levels above 70 ppt. Testing may be expanded if new data indicate new areas where drinking water supplies were contaminated by PFCs.

The DHHS PFC blood testing program will commence in mid-July 2016. Residents who meet the criteria above are encouraged to call the DHHS Public Inquiry Line, Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, at 603-271-9461 to register their interest in having their blood tested for PFCs. More information about the process to receive blood testing will be made available to residents soon.

NHDES has established ambient groundwater quality standards (AGQS) for PFOA and PFOS at 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for each or both together. These standards give NHDES the authority to direct site remediation activities related to these contaminants and also require public water systems to comply with these standards if these contaminants are found in their sources of drinking water.

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. Many chemicals in this group, including PFOA and PFOS, are present in the environment, but they do not break down easily. 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.

DHHS has published updated FAQs for residents with questions about PFCs, potential exposure and blood testing. The FAQs are available at www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/pfcs/documents/pfc-faqs-gen.pdfAdobe Acrobat Reader Symbol.

For more information, visit the DHHS website at www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/pfcs/pfc-health-effects.htm and the NHDES website at http://des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/pfoa.htm.

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New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services
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