August 6, 2020 In the News

Shaheen ad touts work to fight PFAS water contamination

By Jeff McMenemy
August 6, 2020

PORTSMOUTH — U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., launched a new campaign ad Thursday to focus on her work to address PFAS contamination at the former Pease Air Force Base.

The ad features Portsmouth mother Andrea Amico talking about the work Shaheen has done to address the issue.

Amico is co-founder of Testing For Pease, an advocacy group dedicated to helping Pease community members who were exposed to dangerous PFAS chemicals, more commonly known as forever chemicals. Amico has become a nationally known advocate on the issue since her husband and two of her children were exposed to PFAS in the drinking water at Pease.

“Jeanne Shaheen listened to our concerns about PFAS contamination in our water when no one else would, and she has made such a difference for families here,” Amico said in a statement. “After hearing from impacted communities in New Hampshire, she immediately got to work, creating the first-ever national PFAS health study and securing more than $30 million to help ensure we get answers about PFAS in our water supply. No one has fought harder for families like mine than Jeanne Shaheen, and she knows there is so much more to do to support communities impacted by PFAS.”

Thousands of people working at Pease International Tradeport, along with children and infants who attended two day-care centers there, were exposed to multiple PFAS chemicals from contaminated water in the city-owned Haven well until its closure in 2014.

The Agency For Toxic Substances and Disease Registry issued a report in 2019 stating people at the former air base were exposed to PFAS from 1993 to 2014. That exposure, ATSDR stated, “could have increased the risk for harmful health effects to Pease International Tradeport workers and children attending the child-care centers.”

The source of the PFAS is assumed to be from aqueous film-forming foam used at the base, ATSDR states in the report. The city closed the well in May 2014 after the Air Force found high levels of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, or PFOS.

PFAS are man-made chemicals used in products worldwide since the 1950s, including firefighting foam, non-stick cookware and water-repellent fabrics. They also have a range of applications in the aerospace, aviation, automotive and electronics industries.

In addition to being a suspected carcinogen, ATSDR states PFAS exposure can harm childhood development, increase cholesterol levels, hurt the immune system and interfere with hormones.

Previous legislation from Shaheen established the national study on the health effects of PFAS exposure in drinking water. Shaheen and Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., also fought successfully to have the Pease community serve as the model site for the national PFAS health study.

Shaheen included a provision in the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act that will phase out the use of PFAS in Department of Defense firefighting foams and prohibit its use in the military after Oct. 1, 2024.

The new television ad can be viewed at