May 31, 2016 9:08 PM

NH DES adopts emergency health advisory for PFOAs

CONCORD - The state department of environmental services issued an emergency health advisory for new PFOA standards on Tuesday.

This comes during its investigation of contaminants in drinking water near a plastics company.

NH DES adopted the national standards which changes the lifetime limit of exposure to PFOA and PFOS from drinking water. The health advisory sets levels at 70 parts per trillion.

High levels of PFOAs were found in drinking water in parts of Litchfield, Merrimack, Londonderry, Amherst, Bedford and a southern neighborhood of Manchester. St. Gobain's Performance Plastics in Merrimack has been providing bottled water to residents who are affected.

The health risk from PFOAs are not clear as the state said that this is something experts are learning more about each day.

"It's all hands on deck to look at this," said Jim Martin the public information officer for the NH DES. "[The new advisory] will set ambient ground water quality standard for the next 180 days while we can then take long term, permanent rule making procedures."

PFOAs are used to make carpets, clothing, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging for food and other materials that are resistant to water, grease or stains.
They can't be removed from contaminated water by heating or boiling water, but a home drinking water filter may limit exposure.

For public water sources, a Consumer Confidence Report is available upon request. If you drink private well water the state asks you to test every 3 to 5 years for various pollutants. Some towns already have programs in place.
A class action lawsuit was filed last week with residents and businesses against Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and its general manager at the Merrimack facility.

Part of this most recent advisory explains that the EPA plans to begin a separate effort to determine the range of a larger group of chemicals. That program will research health hazards of chemicals.

Here is the official health advisory information, and shows how you can get at-home water testing.

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