Skip to content

Shaheen urges CDC to develop health monitoring for PFAS exposure

PORTSMOUTH -- U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen is urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to “develop health monitoring protocols for medical care for children and adults exposed to PFAS.”

“New Hampshire is at the forefront of the present challenge of PFAS contamination. I have heard from families of children exposed to PFAS who are concerned that their children’s exposure to these harmful chemicals could have long-lasting detrimental impacts on their children’s health,” Shaheen said in a letter to CDC Director Robert Redfield.

Shaheen added she has spoken to families who will participate in the upcoming PFAS health impact study, but they remain concerned “their health-care providers will not have enough information and guidance on how to address clinical issues raised by their test results.”

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

PFAS are man-made chemicals used in products worldwide since the 1950s, including firefighting foam, non-stick cookware and water-repellent fabrics. They also have a range of applications in the aerospace, aviation, automotive and electronics industries, among others.

In addition to being a suspected carcinogen, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry states PFAS exposure can harm childhood development, increase cholesterol levels, hurt the immune system and interfere with the human body’s hormones.

Shaheen told the CDC director in Wednesday’s letter that “additional guidance and suggested models of care and monitoring are needed.” She pointed out that the CDC has acknowledged PFAS exposure in adults can “lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant.”

“These individuals and their physicians would benefit from more guidance and information from CDC on best practices for monitoring clinical factors and warning signs for health conditions that can be associated with PFAS exposure,” Shaheen stated. “I ask that CDC work expeditiously to develop these health monitoring protocols for patients who have been exposed to PFAS.”

Air Force officials in July cut the ribbon on a new groundwater filtration plant at the tradeport they say will remove PFAS contaminants from groundwater.

The Air Force Civil Engineer Center in 2018 began construction of the $12.6 million Airfield Interim Mitigation System (AIMS) groundwater treatment plant. Its purpose, said Air Force officials, is to protect drinking water from levels of PFOS and PFOA that exceed the EPA’s health advisory levels, by intercepting contamination “spreading from up-gradient sources toward the city’s Haven drinking-water well.”