Read the full article by Zoë Read (WHYY)
“Residents in Montgomery and Bucks Counties are learning more about their exposure to toxic PFAS chemicals.
More than 1,000 residents so far have had their blood tested for the so-called ‘forever chemicals’ to help scientists understand more about the health effects of the class of chemicals found in products such as non-stick cookware and waterproof clothing.
The study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, began more than a year ago across seven sites in the U.S. The agency says those exposed to PFAS have a higher risk for high cholesterol, kidney cancer, testicular cancer, and damage to the immune system. The health risks have led to dozens of lawsuits against companies like DuPont, which manufactured the chemicals.
Residents who have lived near former and active military bases in Horsham, Warminster, and Warrington were encouraged to submit blood samples. The areas have a history of PFAS contamination in drinking water, because of the use of fire-suppressing foam, which also contains the chemicals. Though efforts have been made to address the contamination, studies show that certain types of PFAS can remain in the body for a number of years.
‘Everyone that lived on the street that I was on had a serious health issue, whether it was a cancer issue or if it was some serious issue that just didn’t add up,’ said study participant Chris Martindell, who has lived in Warminster most of his life.
Interest in the Montgomery and Bucks study was so high that researchers increased capacity from 1,000 to 1,500 adults, and extended the application process until May. Recruiting children has been more challenging, however, with researchers meeting only 23% of the goal of 300 children.
Martindell is one of the 53% of study participants who have received their test results — his results were particularly high. Martindell hasn’t brought himself to read them in detail, which would outline potential health risks.” …