Apr 07, 2020

Pease PFAS Health Study Halted Due to COVID-19

A health study for people exposed to PFAS chemicals at the former Pease Air Force Base has paused work.

coronavirus covid-19

The Agency For Toxic Substances And Disease Registry (ATSDR) paused a health study due to COVID-19 (coronavirus) concerns. 

The study is for people exposed to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals at the former Pease Air Force Base.

ATSDR is evaluating the test results to determine if drinking the water may harm people’s health and will provide the findings in a written report. 

They have paused the study and they have not canceled it. The plan is to restart recruitment as soon as it is safe to do so, according to Andrea Amico, one of the three co-founders of Testing For Pease. 

“I’m disappointed because I want the study to move forward and to be able to actively recruit people, but it’s the most responsible decision to make in terms of protecting public health,” said Amico.

It is unclear when the next study will be restarted, according to The Portsmouth Herald.

Thousands of people working at Pease International Tradeport, as well as the children and infants who attended two day cares there, were exposed to PFAS chemicals from water in the city-owned Haven well until its closure in 2014.

In 2015, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) tested the blood of people who worked on, lived on, or attended childcare on the Pease Tradeport or Pease Air Force Base, and drank water from contaminated wells.

The water was contaminated by firefighting foam used at the base, reported the Portsmouth Herald.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who passed legislation that created the national health study, secured millions of dollars in federal funding to pay for it.

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