THURSDAY, Feb. 21, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Eight additional communities near current or former U.S. military installations that will be included in assessments of human exposure to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were announced Thursday by federal officials.
The assessments, expected to begin this year and continue through 2020, will lay the groundwork for a future study examining the health effects of PFAS, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Some studies have suggested that PFAS pose a number of health risks, including: affecting the growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children; lowering a woman's chance of getting pregnant; interfering with the body's natural hormones; increasing cholesterol levels; affecting the immune system; and increasing the risk for cancer.
The communities of Bucks and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and Westhampton, New York, were chosen for a pilot project of PFAS exposure assessment. The main goal of the exposure assessments is to provide information to communities about levels of PFAS in their bodies. The results of these assessments will help communities better understand the extent of their environmental exposures to PFAS, officials said. People in the selected communities will be randomly chosen to participate in the assessments. Blood and urine samples will be used to check participants' PFAS levels.
"The assessments will generate information about exposure to PFAS in affected communities and will extend beyond the communities identified, as the lessons learned can also be applied to communities facing similar PFAS drinking water exposures," Patrick Breysse, Ph.D., director of the CDC National Center for Environmental Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, said in an agency news release. "This will serve as a foundation for future studies evaluating the impact of PFAS exposure on human health."