By Jeff McMenemy
Excerpt: PORTSMOUTH – The Testing for Pease community group held its first meeting Tuesday night to help Seacoast residents better understand the potential health effects of being exposed to contaminated city-owned water.
Andrea Amico, of Portsmouth, along with Alayna Davis and Michelle Dalton, both of Dover, created the group to help give the community a voice in addressing the potential health effects of the contaminated water.
“Why did we form this group. We learned like most of you through a newspaper article in May of 2014 that PFC contamination was identified here at the three drinking wells at Pease,” Amico said during the meeting that was held at the Pease International Tradeport Tuesday night. “All three of us have children that have … attended day care at Pease. My husband worked on Pease for nine years and Michelle and Alayna both had worked here as well.”
That gave the women and mothers “a personal reason to be very interested in this topic and (we) wanted to see more action done.”
Laurel Schaider, an environmental research scientist for the Silent Spring Institute, was one of three speakers at the event, which was aimed at helping residents better understand the blood test results they have been receiving from the state.
The city of Portsmouth closed the Haven well in May 2014 at the Pease International Tradeport after the Air Force found levels of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid or PFOS 12.5 times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s provisional health advisory (PHA).
The EPA classified PFOS and perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, which was also found in Haven well but below PHA levels, as “contaminants of emerging concern.” PFOS and PFOA are a class of chemicals known as perfluorochemicals that were used in firefighting foam at the former Pease Air Force Base, which is now a Superfund clean-up site.
Schaider explained to the about 80 people who attended Tuesday night’s event what the forms they received from the state on their test results actually meant. She showed residents a series of PowerPoint slides to try to better explain what they were seeing from their results.
Schaider also explained that the nonprofit she works for is focused on better understanding “links between the environment and women’s health, with a particular link to breast cancer.”