By Peak Johnson
The chemicals perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) continue to plague Air Force bases.
After high levels of both chemicals were found last year at neighboring Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and in at least two residential wells in Ocean County, NJ, residents in five communities in Burlington and Ocean counties have been asked to test their well waters.
The Air Force has been steadily testing for the chemicals, according to New Jersey 101.5, which have been used to make Teflon, Scotchgard, food wrappers, and textiles. PFOS and PFOA are mostly used to make firefighting foam used to extinguish petroleum fires and the foam is the source of the contamination at the base.
The chemicals are not regulated and “there is uncertainty on their impact on human health, although studies have linked the chemicals to thyroid disease, kidney and testicular cancer, elevated cholesterol, obesity and immune suppression.”
A Harvard study found that New Jersey was second only to California among states with drinking water that tested positive for high levels of PFOS and PFOA. The U.S. EPA issued a lifetime drinking water Health Advisory limit for the chemicals at 70 ppt.
However, the chemical is not regulated and because of that the advisory is not enforceable. Across the country, the Air Force has been making progress by moving away from using the chemicals and testing for contamination.
In January, McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst unveiled that there were two private wells in Manchester that showed higher levels than the EPA advisory.
In late January, the base started delivering informational packets to about 50 properties in Jackson. In addition to that, the Air Force is also testing private wells at no cost to homeowners in Lakehurst, Manchester, Pemberton, and New Hanover.
Sampling is being done through a collaborative effort by the EPA and the state Department of Environmental Protection.
To read more about dealing with PFOA, PFOS contamination visit Water Online’s Drinking Water Contaminant Removal Solutions Center.
Image credit: "120425-f-oc707-002, April 2012" x1klima © 2012 used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/