ATSDR thanks Westfield, outlines next steps

ATSDR Associate Director Christopher Reh explains the assessment with Captain Tarah Somers of the U.S. Public Health Service, and ATSDR Environmental Scientist Rachel Rogers at the July 2019 community meeting. (Photo by Amy Porter)

WESTFIELD – Mayor Brian P. Sullivan shared a letter he received last week from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) thanking the City of Westfield for its support of the PFAS Exposure Assessment in Hampden County.
“We greatly appreciate the City of Westfield’s assistance with ATSDR’s PFAS Exposure Assessment,” said Capt. Tarah Somers, ATSDR Region I director.
Somers said Sullivan and city staff were especially helpful in providing ATSDR with a list of Westfield households that served as a starting point for participant identification; informing the agency about the history of PFAS detection and remediation in the city water supply wells, and reviewing and providing helpful comments for the draft ATSDR educational materials.
The city was also acknowledged for facilitating the use of Westfield Intermediate School for a community meeting, for staffing a booth to answer questions, and for identifying a suitable location for blood collection.
Somers said ATSDR completed PFAS sample collection in Hampden County on Sept. 17. They collected over 450 individual blood and urine samples from Westfield residents, surpassing their goal of 395 blood samples. They also collected indoor dust and tap water samples from 17 homes.
“This would not have been possible without the enthusiastic participation from the Westfield community as well as the assistance of City of Westfield staff,” Somers said.
The PFAS samples are currently being checked for quality, logged, and processed in three separate laboratories. Somers said they expect participants will received their individual test results by early 2020.
In the meantime, ATSDR plans to hold “virtual office hours” for members of the community this winter to share information with residents on the next steps and to respond to questions. During these “virtual office hours,” residents may call in to listen to a brief presentation about the status of the project, and have the opportunity to ask questions. Somers said the city will be notified in advance of scheduling this activity.
ATSDR is also working to update clinical guidance and develop medical education for area healthcare providers about PFAS exposure and health, in conjunction with the Westfield Department of Health and Director Joseph Rouse.
“I want to thank the community for participating in such an important project,” Sullivan said. “We will continue to work with ATSDR throughout this exposure assessment.”
Information on ATSDR’s work on PFAS, including the Exposure Assessment in Westfield, may be found at www.atsdr.cdc.gove/pfas. Somers said the EA pages will be updated as they roll out the project in other communities.

To Top