Read the full article by Jeff McMenemy (Foster’s Daily Democrat)

“PORTSMOUTH — One of the many concerns parents of children exposed to PFAS chemicals have is how it could impact their kids’ immune system.

Because exposure to PFAS in drinking water is believed to harm a child’s immune system, ‘PFAS can lower the effectiveness of vaccines they receive,’ Portsmouth mother and Testing For Pease co-founder Andrea Amico said this week.

‘It’s very concerning and it’s a public health issue we need to pay attention to because we rely on vaccines to keep us safe,’ Amico said.

That concern extends to how effective a potential COVID-19 vaccine will be for either children or adults who have been exposed to PFAS, she said.

‘That is a big concern of PFAS-impacted communities like Pease and a big concern of mine,’ she said. ‘Based on what we know about PFAS and immune function, I wonder will it be effective in people who have been exposed to high levels of PFAS.’

‘That’s a very important question to people exposed to PFAS.’

Testing For Pease is the community partner of the Silent Spring Institute for a children’s health study looking at how PFAS impacts immune function in kids, Amico said.

Testing For Pease is helping recruit 60 children from the Pease community for the study, which is called PFAS-REACH, Amico said.

‘We’re looking for children between the ages of 4 to 6 whose moms were exposed to contaminated drinking prior to 2014, and have since had children,’ she said.

The city of Portsmouth closed its Haven well at the former Pease Air Force Base in 2014 after multiple PFAS chemicals were detected in the water. But before it did, thousands of people working at what is now Pease International Tradeport, along with children and infants who attended two day care facilities there, were exposed to the chemicals.

Officials believe the water was contaminated by firefighting foam used at the base.

PFAS are man-made chemicals used in products worldwide since the 1950s, including firefighting foam, non-stick cookware and water-repellent fabrics. They also have a range of applications in the aerospace, aviation, automotive and electronics industries, among others.

In addition to being a suspected carcinogen, the Agency For Toxic Substances and Disease Registry states PFAS exposure can harm childhood development, increase cholesterol levels, hurt the immune system and interfere with the human body’s hormones…”