Information for Healthcare Providers – Exposure to Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) and the Pease Study

INFORMATION TO PROTECT OUR COMMUNITIES

Did chemicals in the drinking water affect the health of New Hampshire residents?
young woman drinking water

We do not know. But, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) are beginning a study fall 2019 to learn how PFAS, a group of human-made chemicals, may have affected the health of people exposed through PFAS-contaminated drinking water in Pease International Tradeport’s public water system and some nearby private wells.

Scientists are still learning how PFAS exposure affects human health, but some studies found that PFAS may affect growth, learning, and behavior of infants and children; lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant; interfere with the body’s natural hormones; increase cholesterol levels; affect the immune system; and increase the risk of cancer.

Since the 1950s, PFAS has been used worldwide to make a wide-range of industry and consumer products, including grease-, water-, and oil-resistant products, and firefighting foams used at the former Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The Pease Study will expand the PFAS-science base by looking for possible links between health outcomes and PFAS exposure. Healthcare providers can find more information and learn more about the Pease Study at www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas.

As a healthcare provider, community members may ask you questions about this study. Below is information that you may find useful.

Who may participate in the Pease Study?

Adults age 18 and older and children ages 4 through 17 who have a parent or guardian’s permission, and who meet ANY of the following qualifications:

  • Worked or attended daycare at Pease International Tradesport from 2004 to May 2014.
  • Lived and/or worked at or near Pease Air Force Base from 2004 to May 2014.
  • People who live or lived in Newington whose private wells are documented as containing PFAS.
  • Children born to and/or breastfed by mothers exposed to PFAS through contaminated drinking water.
  • Participated in N.H. Dept. of Health and Human Services PFAS Blood Testing Program.

During the study registration, CDC and ATSDR call center staff will ask individuals questions to screen potential study participants. Because the study looks at PFAS in drinking water only, any person who has ever had a job working with PFAS cannot participate.

What does participation include?

Participants will provide information on their exposure to PFAS, medical history, a urine sample, allow a phlebotomist to draw a blood sample after fasting 8 hours, and have their body measurements taken. Child participants will also receive a behavioral assessment.

CDC and ATSDR will protect all personal information and conceal each participant’s identity.

Why should individuals participate?

Participation helps communities in many ways. Everyone benefits from increasing scientific knowledge of how PFAS may affect human health. Participants will receive their individual test results, which they can share with their healthcare providers. Additionally, participants will get a $25 gift card for completing each part of the study (up to $75 for completing all three parts).

How will CDC and ATSDR share results?

CDC and ATSDR will mail participants their PFAS screening results, but it take up to two years before results arrive. PFAS test analysis takes a long time. CDC and ATSDR will also publish and share reports on the community-level data publicly when the study ends. These reports will not include participants’ private, identifiable information.

As a healthcare provider, where can I find current information on PFAS exposure studies and PFAS health effects?

A number of resources are available to you and your patients.

  • Find CDC and ATSDR clinician information for many common questions, including potential human health effects, current or future health problems, and pregnancy, and breastfeeding concerns at: www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/info-for-health-professionals.html.
  • Take the PFAS Continuing Education for Clinicians training and receive continuing education credits, available at: https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/emes/pfas_clinicians_training.html.
  • Instruct people to find more information on PFAS and the Pease Study on the CDC and ATSDR websites or to call the information hotline: www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas, or call 800-CDC-INFO; TTY 888-232-6348.
  • Obtain information on PFAS-related activities in the Portsmouth area by calling the CDC and ATSDR Regional Office, 617-918-1493 or email pfas@cdc.gov.
Expected Outcomes of the Pease Health Study

Understanding the relationship between exposure and health outcomes can better prepare and encourage community members to follow up with healthcare providers and monitor their health.

CDC and ATSDR will integrate data from the Pease Study with data from other sites to maximize the impact and provide information to communities across the nation.

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Page last reviewed: October 7, 2019