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


Woman drinking water

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

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 in the fall of 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. Research involving humans suggests that high levels of certain PFAS may lead to the following:

  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Changes in liver enzymes
  • Decreased vaccine response in children
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women
  • Small decreases in infant birth weights
  • Increased risk of kidney or testicular cancer
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.

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

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?

Pease Study eligibility requires meeting the following criteria:  

An adult aged 18 or older who 

  • worked or attended school at Pease International Tradeport at anytime from January 2004 to May 2014, or 
  • lived in Newington at anytime from January 2004 to the present  and used a private well with documented PFAS contamination. 

A child aged 4 through 17 who has parent or guardian permission and 

  • attended daycare at Pease International Tradeport at anytime from January 2004 to May 2014, or 
  • was born to and/or breastfed by a mother who meets the adult eligibility criteria. 

A small group of adults who never drank water from Pease International Tradeport and whose occupation or education did not expose them to PFAS, and children who never drank water from Pease International Tradeport may also be eligible to 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. 

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Page last reviewed: June 24, 2020