Read the full article by Kimberley Haas

“PORTSMOUTH — Officials from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry laid out their plans to test people exposed to contaminated drinking water at Pease International Tradeport during a meeting Thursday evening.

Earlier this month, the Department of Defense successfully transferred $10 million to ATSDR to move forward with the process of carrying out a per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) health-impact study.

An additional $10 million dollars has been approved for future testing.

Officials are hoping to use the money to study the long-term effects of contamination on people who consumed the water on the former Air Force Base between 2004 and 2014.

Frank Bove, a senior epidemiologist at ATSDR, explained that testing people who were drinking water from the area prior to 2004 would not be effective because of the contamination’s half-life.

Bove said when they sample blood from the 1,000 adults and 350 exposed children expected to participate they will be looking at lipids, liver functions and kidney functions as well as PFAS levels.

‘We will be collecting Social Security numbers so we can follow people over time,’ Bove added.

Andrea Amico, co-founder of Testing for Pease, asked about the concept of using Social Security numbers.

Bove said they will be taking extra measures to make sure the private data of participants is protected.

Patrick Breysse, director of ATSDR, explained there is nothing set in stone yet.

‘We don’t have specific plans, but we want to keep our options open. Social Security numbers are key to accessing national cancer registries,’ Breysse said.

Breysse said one of the biggest challenges they have is recruiting people to participate in the study. They are hoping to work with the state to reach impacted individuals and that people will come forward through public announcements…

Firefighters and people who work on industrial sites will be excluded from the study because exposure is considered an occupational hazard and the focus needs to be on drinking water exposure.”