200 of Merrimack's Public Water Customers to Get PFOA Blood Tests

Sep 26, 2016

Credit John K via Flickr CC

Two-hundred randomly selected public water customers in Merrimack will get their blood tested for PFOA. That’s the contaminant found in drinking water near the Saint-Gobain plastics plant.

Many of Merrimack’s approximately 7,500 public water customers have been demanding such blood tests, until now, to no avail. They’ve been concerned about water pollution from PFOA, a contaminant linked to certain cancers, reduced immune function, and other health outcomes.

Today, state health officials announced they will mail households on Merrimack Village District water a letter. From those responses, the state will randomly select 200 individuals for blood testing.

Public water in Merrimack does have PFOA in it, but not at levels high enough to qualify customers for free blood tests through the state.

However, two public wells in Merrimack that were shut off in the last year do have higher concentrations of the contaminant. Additionally, there’s no way to know how much PFOA was in drinking water before testing began earlier this year.

State epidemiologist Ben Chan has said he hopes these randomly selected blood samples will help establish that public water customers have not been consuming much of the contaminant.