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Grants available to train physicians on how to test for PFAS exposure

New report recommends doctors perform blood tests if patients concerned

More guidance is on the way for doctors and for patients about how to test for and potentially treat exposure to certain dangerous chemicals.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen's office said $1 million in grants will develop new training courses for clinicians dealing with exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. A new report from the National Academy of Sciences recommends that doctors perform blood tests if someone is worried about their exposure to PFAS.

"It's one of the things I've heard people in New Hampshire request and tell me, 'Well I went to my doctor, and my doctor said, "I don't know how I'm supposed to respond,"' so this is a really important study and helpful in providing guidance to physicians," Shaheen said.

The report makes clear that the health care community is just at the beginning stages of understanding what the full impacts are of exposure and how doctors can best treat patients.

Some of the research is focused on areas such as the former Pease Air Force Base and the Merrimack area, where PFAS has been found in drinking water. The report notes that exposure can lead to significant health impacts, such as cancers and developmental disabilities.

The chemicals have been used in products such as water-repellant clothing and firefighting foam.

Shaheen said she expects the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to do an outreach campaign to get guidance to physicians and continue developing more treatment options as more is learned about the long-term effects of PFAS exposure.