Exposure study to assess people and water near Colorado Springs
By measuring biological markers of exposure and health indicators in a sample of approximately 200 people who consumed contaminated water, this study will provide communities and scientists with an improved understanding of the biopersistence and potential health impacts of AFFF-derived poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs).
PFASs are a class of chemicals widely used in industrial and commercial applications since the 1950s.
In July, a nine-month U.S. Air Force study verified that firefighting foam used at Peterson Air Force Base contaminated groundwater and soil with PFASs at levels more than 1,000 times an Environmental Protection Agency health advisory limit for similar chemicals.
"This research will contribute to our understanding of the factors driving this unique exposure and how it may affect long-term health," said Dr. John Adgate, chair of ColoradoSPH’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and principal investigator of the study.
While exposure to PFASs has been significantly reduced due to work by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the local water utilities, our hope is that by gathering data on blood levels shortly after people’s peak exposure we can provide better answers on related health effects and potential next steps."
Currently, little is known about the health effects of human exposure to PFASs in areas with drinking water contaminated by AFFF, and no systematic biomonitoring has been done in these communities.
"Because we suspect that any health effects are likely related to peak blood levels, it is important to collect the blood data and health effect information as soon as we can," Dr. Adgate said.
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