NH DHHS - Offering Testing for People Who Consumed Contaminated Pease Water

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


. 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