PFAS Exposure


On Wednesday night, a crowd of concerned neighbors attended a meeting about a new study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Some even waited in long lines, before the meeting began, to sign up to be a part of it. They say they want answers.

"To see if we're any higher risk than the average person who doesn't have this, to maybe help future generations, kids, grand kids," Cynthia Acuff said.

"Hoping they'll give us some closure with what's going on with the water," Ramona Alonzo said.

Lubbock has been chosen for a federally-funded study, after it was discovered homes near the Reese Technology Center had contaminated water, most likely from firefighting foam.

"We had to pick sites that were near current or former military installations, that had known contamination of PFAS in their drinking water, " Lt. Brad Goodwin, with the U.S. Public Health Service, said. "Lubbock is one of only a very few sites that had private well contamination," Lt. Goodwin added.

More than 200 private wells in the area have shown high levels of the contaminant.

8 other locations across the nation have also been chosen as sample sites.

"Many of these communities have been dealing with this situation for some time. They have concerns, and they're very concerned about the potential health impact," Associate Director of ATSDR Dr. Christopher Reh said.

"The strongest evidence suggests that PFAS may affect human hormones, they may increase cholesterol, they may have impacts on the immune system and they may increase the risks for certain types of cancer, " environmental health scientist Rachel Rogers said.

This exposure assessment will see exactly how much of the chemical people were exposed to and how they may be able to limit it in the future.

"So it's important to understand that this is really a first step it's aimed at understanding exposure, we're not going to be answering questions about health," Rogers said.

The purpose of the meeting was not only to inform the public but to get as many people involved in the study as possible.

"We need to get the right numbers in order to develop exposure profiles for PFAS across the country, especially for the communities where their drinking water may be impacted," Reh said.

Participants will provide blood and urine samples, as well as samples from around the home.

They will be analyzed and reports will be shared with both individuals and the community in a few months.


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