Here’s an in-depth look PFAS in El Paso County from Faith Miller that’s running in the Colorado Springs Independent. Click through and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:
Researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health will study the health effects of toxic PFAS chemicals — found in firefighting foam used by the military — in residents of El Paso County, thanks to a $1 million federal grant.
Colorado is just one of seven states named in a multisite study into the health effects of the chemicals. Nationally, the study will recruit “at least 2,000 children aged 4–17 years and 6,000 adults aged 18 years and older who were exposed to PFAS-contaminated drinking water,” according to a statement from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, which is funding the project along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Colorado School of Public Health, at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Denver, plans to recruit 1,000 adults and 300 children for the study. Previous research has found that people who lived in the Fountain and Security-Widefield areas, near Peterson Air Force Base, prior to 2015 have higher-than-normal levels of PFAS chemicals in their blood.
The research team will include experts from the Colorado School of Mines, Children’s Hospital Colorado, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the University of Southern California, according to a statement from CU Anschutz.
John Adgate, chair of the school’s Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and the co-principal investigator on the study, says it’s not yet clear which members of the PFAS chemical group will be looked at, but the list will likely include “PFHxS, PFOS and PFOA, as well as a bunch of others.”
Most extensive research into PFAS chemicals has so far been focused on PFOS and PFOA, while health effects of other PFAS aren’t as well established.
“The El Paso County site is interesting because [the contamination is] mostly from firefighting foams, which results in people having elevated blood levels of what’s known as PFHxS and PFOS,” Adgate explains.
Adgate and his research team found last year that study participants who’d been exposed to the contamination had blood levels of PFHxS about 10 times as high as U.S. population reference levels. Levels of this chemical were also higher than those for residents in other communities exposed to PFAS.