Department of Health to hold blood draw clinics for residents affected by PFOA contamination

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BENNINGTON — Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and the Vermont Department of Health will offer blood draw clinics from late April to the middle of May due to the Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) contamination in North Bennington and Bennington.

Measurements from the blood test will evaluate the level of contamination in an individual. Results will then be compared to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for adults and older children, according to a news release from the Vermont Department of Health. Existing low levels of PFOA in an individual's blood is considered normal.

In private drinking water wells near the former Chemfab/Saint-Gobain, results of PFOA tests detected about 3,000 parts per trillion, the Department of Health stated, which exceeds the state's advisory level of 20 ppt for drinking water.

To be eligible for a blood test, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation must have tested the your home's well, or if you have or still do work or live at the former industrial site at 940/1030 Water St. in North Bennington.

Participants will be contacted by the health department once registered through an online survey by April 30 at survey.healthvermont.gov/s3/PFOA-Blood-Draw-Registration. A health and exposure questionnaire must be completed before receiving a test. It pertains to the participant's age, water consumption patterns, and other lifestyle information, according to the health department's release.

In the news release, Health Commissioner Harry Chen said, "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."

Testing dates are by appointment only and will occur at the department's office on 324 Main St. #2 in Bennington on April 29, April 30, May 4 and 5, May 11 and May 12. The clinic is free.

Reports will be analyzed and returned months later and participants will be notified at that time. Medical treatment is not available to remove PFOA from the blood and it takes roughly two to four years to be reduced. At this time, the state is providing bottled water and in-home filtration systems to act as a short-term solution for affected residents.

The health department can be reached for further questions at 800-439-8550 during the week from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. More information about the blood test clinics can be found at http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/pfoa_clinics.aspx.

—Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.


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