PORTSMOUTH — The director of a federal agency studying the PFC exposure at the former Pease Air Force Base believes there should be a national health study done on the chemical’s health effects.
Unfortunately for the children and adults who were exposed to the chemicals in contaminated Portsmouth drinking water, the agency doesn’t have the money to pay for the study and the Air Force – which contaminated the well – says it can’t.
Air Force Lt. Col. Joseph Constantino told the crowd gathered at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Pease Community Assistance Panel that they had received a request from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to pay for the health studies.
But the Air Force’s legal team told them “we can’t fund that study,” Constantino told the crowd at the CAP meeting, which was hosted by the ATSDR.
Portsmouth resident and CAP member Andrea Amico said she was “terribly disappointed” by the Air Force’s decision.
“The fact we’ve gone through this whole process with the ATSDR for a year” only to find out the Air Force won’t pay for the study is “frankly unacceptable,” Amico said.
“Why did the Air Force direct us to go through this process,” Amico asked.
Constantino replied that it was just like when the community and state of New Hampshire asked the Air Force to “pay for the blood testing or do the blood testing” after the Seacoast community learned of the PFC exposure in May 2014.
“We don’t have authority to go into that kind of work,” he said. ” … Without authority, there’s no funding.”
He noted that the Air Force could and did pay for the ATSDR to conduct a feasibility assessment to look at whether health studies could be conducted based on the Pease exposure.
But he stressed “there’s a line that’s drawn on what we can do” and paying for a study “is something we just can’t do.”
The city of Portsmouth closed the Haven well at Pease International…