Pease PFAS study awaits OMB approval

On Feb. 21, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry announced eight sites near military installations that will be examined for human exposure to PFAS, but didn’t include the former Pease Air Force base in Portsmouth that was scheduled as the model test site to attest health impacts from PFAS, which are chemicals found in commercial household products and firefighting foams used on military bases.

PFAS chemicals seeped from soils to sources of drinking water at military bases and surrounding communities and were also found in water at the Saint-Gobain site in Merrimack.

The Telegraph contacted the CDC/ATSDR after it announced testing that will begin at eight sites in 2019 and 2020 as part of a multi-site health study that initially utilized the Pease Tradeport, the site of the Pease Air Force base, as the launch site for the study.

A spokesperson for the organizations said the Pease study is ongoing and “will look at the association between health outcomes and PFAS exposure and allow the CDC/ATSDR to evaluate methods to improve the design of the multi-site health study.”

When asked when the Pease study will take place, the spokesperson said, “Activities associated with the Pease study will not take place until the protocol has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget. We anticipate that OMB will approve the protocol later this year.”

Last May, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., announced that Pease will be the model test site for the ATSDR’s first nationwide PFAS study and said an in-depth exposure assessment has already been performed.

“Granite State families deserve answers about the potential health effects related to PFAS exposure, which is why I was pleased to hear that ATSDR is on track to begin implementing the human health impact study at Pease this summer,” said Shaheen. “This has been a long time coming and is one step of many to ensure there is transparency and accountability to keep our drinking water clean. I appreciate the continued advocacy of our local organizations in New Hampshire for their support of my efforts to create this study, and I’ll continue to prioritize measures in Congress that ensure the safety of our water supplies.”