CU Denver to begin testing blood of residents exposed in Widefield Aquifer PFCs pollution

Widefield aquifer via the Colorado Water Institute.

From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

…this week, a University of Colorado Denver public-health study funded by the National Institutes of Health will begin testing the blood of 200 residents, The Denver Post has learned.

No government agency has systematically investigated health impacts of the contamination. This area of southern El Paso County is among the most populated of more than 70 places where PFCs detected at levels up to hundreds of times higher than an EPA health advisory limit are spreading from military bases that used firefighting foam containing the chemicals.

Municipal firetrucks also carry the foam and PFCs are used in consumer products, including fast-food wrappers. They have emerged as one family in a widening array of synthetic chemicals detected in water that cannot be removed easily due to molecular structures…

Neither the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment nor the EPA has been monitoring PFC levels in the Fountain Creek watershed. Tests done more than a year ago showed contamination at levels far above the EPA health advisory limit.

CDPHE officials last week welcomed the EPA visit and said they’re pushing the Air Force to move faster into a planned 2019 “remedial investigation” phase that would include tracking the spread of PFCs in groundwater beyond the military base and airport.

The CU public health study will focus on people exposed to PFCs between 2012 and 2016, study leader John Adgate said. “We recruited more than 200 people from Security/Widefield/Fountain who will be coming to our temporary clinic for the blood draws.”

Air Force civil engineers last week provided their latest data to The Post from an “expanded site investigation” on Peterson Air Force Base and the adjacent Colorado Springs airport. They’ll drill 21 new wells to measure PFC contamination of groundwater.

The testing found PFCs at levels exceeding the EPA health limit contaminating 42 municipal water supply wells, which were shut down, with seven now back in use after the installation of treatment systems. (Fountain and Security stopped using wells for water supply, shifting to water diverted from the Arkansas River. Widefield bought and installed new water-cleaning systems to filter out contamination.)

Air Force officials said they have found 37 private wells with water containing elevated PFCs…

Meanwhile, Colorado Springs attorney Mike McDivitt, with colleagues in Denver and New York, has filed a second massive lawsuit in federal court, seeking funds from PFC manufacturers for medical monitoring. A federal judge is expected Aug. 2 to rule on whether an earlier lawsuit can proceed as a class action.

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