The PFAS Project Lab

Studying Social, Scientific, and Political Factors of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances

Pease, New Hampshire

Suspected contamination source: Firefighting foam used at former Pease Air Force Base (

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) was notified by the U.S. Air Force in May, 2014 that water samples collected on April, 2014 detected levels of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) at 2,500 ppt, above the Provisional Health Advisory (PHA) level* set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Haven water supply well located on the Pease Tradeport. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was also detected at 350 ppt, a level just below the then-PHA.


The city of Portsmouth closed the Haven well. Other PFAS, most notably PFHxS, were also found in well water samples, and in some residential private wells located near the site. Firefighting foam used at the former Pease Air Force Base is the presumed source. Approximately 8,000 people work at or visit the Pease Tradeport daily. Two daycare centers operate on the property. Residents formed a group Testing for Pease as a very effective advocate for continued vigilance in clean-up, monitoring, and additional blood testing. They also play a major role in the ATSDR’s Community Advisory Panel that is studying the site and considering a health study.

In October 2014, the Air Force agreed to pay the city of Portsmouth $154,000 to look for a new well/water source now that Haven Well is no longer on line. Water from Portsmouth system was rerouted to Pease Tradeport and at the end of 2016 the Smith and Harrison wells were fitted with carbon filtration systems.

In 2015, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services began a blood testing program for people who had lived on, worked on, or attended child care on the Pease Tradeport. A total of 1,578 individuals had their blood tested for PFCs between April to October 2015. Individuals tested showed higher levels of PFOS, PFOA, and PFHxS compared with the general U.S. population in 2011–2012.

* In 2016 EPA lowered its PHA from a standard of 200 ppt for PFOS along with the previously noted level of 400 ppt for PFOAto a combined lifetime PFOA/PFOS exposure level of 70 ppt.

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