CDC and ATSDR are hosting two online information sessions to provide an update on the ongoing work across all eight exposure assessment sites.

New Castle County (DE) near New Castle Air National Guard Base

New Castle

PFAS Exposure Assessment Community Level Results

New! In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) started exposure assessments (EAs) in communities near current or former military bases known to have had per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in their drinking water. Individuals who participated in the EAs provided blood and urine samples to CDC/ATSDR for analysis. We sent letters to participants that included their individual lab results. An example letter of the test results letter and the community level results are available here.

Background 

The New Castle Air National Guard Base used aqueous film forming foam containing PFAS for firefighting training in the past. Groundwater sources used for drinking water in areas east and southeast of the base were contaminated with PFAS. Residents who may have been affected include those who live in and near the City of New Castle. 

In 2014, two drinking water systems serving the New Castle area, Artesian Water and Municipal Services Commission (MSC) of the City of New Castle, were found to contain PFAS levels exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) health advisory. 

After receiving the PFAS test results, both water systems upgraded their systems to reduce PFAS exposures, including installation of granular activated carbon (GAC) filtration systems. In 2017, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control reported that the GAC filtration systems had reduced levels of two specific PFAS, PFOS and PFOA, below the EPA health advisory. 

Some PFAS stay in people’s bodies for a long time so we will still be able to measure them even if the exposures stopped years ago. 

New Castle Timeline

Participating in an exposure assessment will help you and your community better understand the extent of environmental exposures to PFAS. A random selection of households impacted by PFAS in their drinking water will be identified. If your household is selected to participate, you will receive a letter in the mail from CDC/ATSDR explaining the exposure assessment and registration process. You will also get a phone call from a representative who can answer questions and register you and other members of your household interested in participating. Household members are eligible if they are 3 years of age or older, do not have a bleeding disorder and are not anemic, and they have lived in the sampling area for one year prior to August 5, 2014 (for MS customers), or July 18, 2016 (for Artesian customers).  Inclusion of children in the exposure assessment is dependent on parent or legal guardian consent. 

Sampling Area

The sampling frame for the New Castle exposure assessment includes customers of the Artesianexternal icon and Municipal Services Commission (MSC)external icon water supply systems.  Identification and mitigation of PFAS in these water systems occurred in separate but parallel paths as outlined in the figure below. The eligibility dates reflect the timeline of past exposures to PFAS via drinking water.

Selected households were eligible to participate if they resided in the sampling area for one year prior to the following eligibility dates:

The map shows the sampling area where the exposure assessment will occur. It focuses on an area where residential tap water PFOA and/or PFOS concentrations were above federal or state guidelines. The boundary of this area represents all customers of the Municipal Services Commission water system and all Artesia customers who live in the vicinity of three water treatment facilities (Jefferson Farms, Wilmington Manor 1, and Wilmington Manor 3.

Schedule

CDC/ATSDR began an exposure assessment in New Castle in late summer 2019. Recruitment of participants took approximately 6 weeks. After that, CDC/ATSDR was in New Castle County from October 16 through October 26, 2019 to test participants. 

CDC/ATSDR completed the analysis of environmental and biological samples. Individual test results were mailed to participants on May 22, 2020. If you participated in the exposure assessment and have not received your individual test results, please contact ATSDR at PFAS@cdc.gov. CDC and ATSDR will write a final report summarizing the findings and recommendations for the community and present the results at a public meeting.

Timeline of Exposure Assessments for New Castle County. The information session, recruitment, and field work/sample collection phases have been completed. Currently analyzing samples. Next steps mailing individual test results and community meeting.

Information Session

CDC/ATSDR held an information session to answer questions from the community, listen to concerns, and promote transparency and understanding.

When
August 26, 2019
5:30 p.m.–8:00 p.m.
Presentation will start at 6:00 p.m.

Where
New Castle Historical Society
30 Market Street
New Castle, DE 19720

For information on work being done in New Castle, DE, contact Karl Markiewicz PhD., Senior Toxicologist/Regional Liaison, 215-814-3149, kvm4@cdc.gov.

Page last reviewed: June 24, 2020