Read full article by Jeff McMenemy (Seacoast Online)

“NEWINGTON — A small number of tests done on shellfish around Great Bay show what one scientist is describing as ‘alarmingly’ high levels of PFAS contaminants.

The Air Force released the results of testing it did for PFAS in shellfish taken from area brooks

Environmental scientist Mindi Messmer filed a Freedom of Information request to get the results, which the Air Force turned over last week…

She calculated from the data received from the Air Force that the total PFAS found in one oyster was in excess of 55,000 parts per trillion.

She acknowledged the Air Force conducted only about 10 tests for PFAS in shellfish taken from brooks around Great Bay. But she believes that signs should be put up in areas where the shellfish were taken to warn people about the high levels.

‘Until we know that it’s safe to eat shellfish at these extremely high levels, I would be very cautious about eating them,’ Messmer said…

Glenn Normandeau, the executive director of N.H. Fish and Game, said he did recently receive information about the test results from Messmer.

‘I’ve got no inside information from the Air Force,’ he said Monday. ‘We’d like to understand a lot better what that even means, which I don’t know.’

Normandeau did state that setting consumption levels ‘is a very different thing from the drinking water standards.’

Plus, he added, it would likely be the Department of Environmental Services or Health and Human Services who would set levels for people eating shellfish or anything else with PFAS in them…

Fish and Game officials have met several times with state health officials to discuss how to deal with PFAS chemicals, Normandeau said.

It’s likely they will talk again over the next week or two, he said.

Asked if he was concerned about the results he’s seen, Normandeau said, ‘It’s all a concern to me. We’ve got all kinds of stuff that we’re dealing with. It’s one of only about 400 things that keeps me awake at night’…

Local concern over PFAS contamination in the Seacoast began in 2014 when the chemicals were discovered at the Portsmouth owned Haven well at the Pease International Tradeport.

Officials believe the PFAS came from firefighting foam used at the former Air Force base, according to the Agency For Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Thousands of people working at the tradeport, along with children and infants who attended two day-care centers there, were exposed to multiple PFAS chemicals from contaminated water in the city-owned Haven well. The city closed the well in May 2014 after the Air Force detected high levels of PFOS…

The state Department of Environmental Services has proposed establishing maximum contaminant levels (MCLs)/drinking water standards and ambient groundwater quality standards (AGQS) for four per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS): perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS).

The standards are substantially lower than the Environmental Protection Agency’s levels for PFOA and PFOS.

The standards it proposed are 12 parts per trillion for PFOA, 15 ppt for PFOS, 18 ppt for PFHxs and 11 ppt for PFNA. DES stated it established the levels to ‘ensure greater protection of public health related to the consumption of drinking water’…

The rulemaking proposal is set to be voted on by the New Hampshire Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (JLCAR) at its July 18 meeting.

If approved by JLCAR, the new rules are scheduled to take effect Oct. 1.”