State Press Release: PFOA blood tests offered to people in North Bennington and Bennington

vtdeptofhealth

PFOA blood tests offered to people in North Bennington and Bennington
Blood draw clinics set for April and May at the Health Dept. District Office in Bennington
For Immediate Release: April 11, 2016

 

BURLINGTON – The Vermont Department of Health, with support from Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, is offering PFOA blood draw clinics as part of the State of Vermont’s response to PFOA contamination of drinking water wells in North Bennington and Bennington. The clinic dates are set for late April through mid-May.

Private drinking water wells in the area around the former Chemfab/Saint-Gobain have had detections of PFOA ranging from non-detect to nearly 3,000 parts per trillion, well above Vermont’s advisory level of 20 parts per trillion for drinking water.

The blood tests will measure the level of PFOA in an individual’s blood, and this can be compared to levels measured by CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for adults and older children in the U.S. Most adults have low levels of PFOA in their blood.

“We understand why people want to have their blood tested, and this is a service we can provide,” said Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD. “The higher the concentration of PFOA in drinking water, the higher the level of PFOA will likely be in your blood. The test cannot tell if your exposure to PFOA will cause health problems for you in the future, or if a health problem you have was caused by PFOA, but it may help inform discussions about your health between you and your doctor.”

Eligibility – A person is eligible for the blood test if:

  1. The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation tested the well of the home in North Bennington/Bennington where you live now, or where you lived any time in the past eight years. – and/or –
  2. You worked or lived at the former Chemfab/Saint-Gobain site at 940/1030 Water Street in North Bennington, or you work or live there now.

Registration and Scheduling – To begin the registration process, complete the online survey by April 30 at: http://survey.healthvermont.gov/s3/PFOA-Blood-Draw-Registration.

The Health Department will then contact eligible participants to schedule appointments. Before having blood drawn at the scheduled appointment, a health and exposure questionnaire must be completed for each participant regarding age, water consumption patterns, diet and exercise, work history, health and medical history.

Clinic Dates – Blood draw clinics for eligible people are by appointment only. The clinics will be held at the Health Department district office in Bennington starting in late April and continuing through mid-May: Friday, April 29; Saturday, April 30; Wednesday, May 4; Thursday, May 5; Wednesday, May 11; and Thursday, May 12.

There will be no cost to participants for the blood draw and laboratory analysis.

Reporting – After the clinics are completed, it will be several months for the results to be analyzed and reported back to individuals.

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center is arranging for volunteers to assist with drawing blood and providing medical waste management. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry is providing technical assistance and laboratory analysis of blood samples.

It takes about two to four years for PFOA blood levels to reduce by half, and there is no medical treatment or intervention that can remove PFOA from the blood.

The most important action to protect health is to remove the exposure, and the State has been working to provide bottled water and install in-home filtration systems as the short-term solution for affected residents.

For more information about the PFOA blood test clinics: http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/pfoa_clinics.aspx

For more information about PFOA and health concerns:
http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/pfoa.aspx, or call the Health Department at 800-439-8550 weekdays 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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