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Jun 17, 2015 6:19 PM

Slightly higher level of PFCs found in the blood of some people living near contaminated well


PORTSMOUTH - Early results suggest people living near a contaminated well at the Pease Tradeport have higher levels of certain PFCs, or perfluorinated compounds, in their blood than the general population - but not as severe as other communities where similar contaminants were found.

State epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said the levels found in the first roughly 100 blood tests showed elevated levels, on average, compared with 95 percent of the general U.S. population for three types of PFCs.

But the level is about what it would have been for people, on average, 10 years ago, he said.

Investigators will look at test results for roughly 500 people before they draw any final conclusions, but they held a meeting on Wednesday to present some initial findings to the public.

The study looked for nine different PFC compounds in the blood tests. Three - PFOS, PFOA and PFHXF - raised some level of concern because of the elevated levels, he said.

But making a link between the blood tests and any specific health impacts is not yet possible because research is still inconclusive, he said.

"We cannot make a connection between an individual PFC blood level and a health impact," Chan said.

Investigators did not discuss any individual test results but spoke only in terms of averages.

"The individual patient results have just been mailed today," he said. People who had their blood tested will be getting the results shortly and receive a number to call for more information.

All the blood tests in this group were taken from adults, he said. Further analysis will come after all the blood tests are analyzed, when investigators will consider whether to recommend any further action.

The type of PFCs that were found in these blood tests could come from multiple sources, Chan said. People can be exposed in the household via stain resistance sprays, for example. In this case, one source was likely the foam used by firefighters on the runway near the well, he said.

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