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CDC to perform more blood tests in connection with Haven Well contamination

Union Leader Correspondent

June 03. 2015 9:00PM

PORTSMOUTH — The Centers for Disease Control will conduct blood tests on 500 people exposed to contaminants from the Haven Well at Pease Tradeport.

“We are glad that those who have been exposed to these contaminants will be able to undergo the testing they need while limiting undue financial burden on the State of New Hampshire and the City of Portsmouth,” said Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte in a joint statement.

Shaheen and Ayotte, both members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, worked to secure funding for additional tests. Funding for the added testing was included in a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act report.

“We will continue to push for the Air Force to identify and notify those who may have been exposed to these contaminants, as our amendment in the defense bill would require. We will also seek additional federal funding if testing needs to expand.”

The Centers for Disease Control had initially agreed to fund 100 blood tests in March. The well had been shut down last April after testing by state and federal environmental officials indicated levels of an unregulated contaminant.

Exposure to the contaminant — perflourochemicals (PFCs) — has been associated with certain types of cancer, according to a 2013 study by Emory University in Atlanta.

The contamination is likely due to the Air Force’s use of firefighting foam at Pease Air National Guard Base.

Representatives from the Centers for Disease Control’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and the Air Force had resisted initial testing, concluding it was premature and unneeded, according to the statement.

In a letter to Air Force and federal environmental officials, Shaheen and Ayotte said the Air Force has yet to collaborate with the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and the city of Portsmouth to ensure that people wanting a blood test can get one at no cost to them personally or the state.

The Air Force will be required to identify and notify those who may have been exposed to the PFCs and report back to Congress on its progress by Sept. 30.

Environment Health Public Safety Portsmouth

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