“The State Department of Health has sent letters to 800 homes in Westhampton Beach and Quogue asking residents to participate in a study that will test participants’ blood for toxins that have recently been found in private water wells near Francis S. Gabreski Airport, even though the residents are now connected to public water.

The contaminants, perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, or PFOS, and per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, were detected by the Suffolk County Health Department in Westhampton Beach in 2016 and are thought to have been derived from firefighting foam used during training sessions at Gabreski.

In recent months, high concentrations of the chemicals, which can cause negative health effects, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have also been detected in East Quogue, Hampton Bays, Wainscott and East Hampton. In most cases, firefighting foam used until the early 2000s is believed to be the cause.

‘As in other communities affected by elevated levels of emerging and unregulated contaminants found in drinking water, the Department of Health has initiated a biomonitoring or blood testing program, to measure PFOA and PFOS blood levels in a random selected sample of Westhampton Beach and Quogue residents on public drinking water,’ said Erin Silk, a State Department of Health spokeswoman.

Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming said she was notified of the study and said the blood tests are being conducted for informational purposes. According to Ms. Fleming, results from Westhampton and Quogue residents will be compared with results collected from people throughout the country in an effort to determine the amount of PFOS and PFAS in local residents who are believed to have drunk or came in contact with contaminated water.

“The people being asked to participate in the study are now connected to public water, their drinking water is safe, but testing is being done because there is a potential that they were exposed to the chemicals years ago,” Ms. Fleming said.”

Read the full article by Elsie Boskamp