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Monitoring PFC Levels in Oakdale
State Sen. Chuck Wiger
Over the past several years, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has been working to decrease the exposure to perfluorochemicals (PFCs) in the East Metro. Red flags were raised after studies of PFCs in animals found associated health effects. In the mid-2000s, the MDH found that some public and private drinking water sources in the East Metro were polluted with PFCs as well. Shortly after,steps were taken to reduce the risk.
Interventions included the installation of filtration systems on contaminated city and private wells. In 2007, legislation passed to begin biomonitoring for PFCs in the East Metro to monitor the situation. This process allows us to measure the levels of chemicals in residents while determining if chemical exposure differs between groups and over time.
After two phases of this test, biomonitoring has shown that the public health intervention was successful. Thankfully, between 2008 and 2010, we saw a decline in levels of PFCs in the blood of residents. This year, MDH will conduct the third phase of the testing process.
This phase will measure PFCs in two groups:
1. East Metro residents that participated in the 2008 and 2010 projects–people with past PFC drinking water exposure.
2. Oakdale residents who moved to the city after the intervention–people without known PFC drinking water exposure.
This phase will answer two important questions:
1. Have PFC levels continued to go down in the long-term East Metro residents?
2. In new Oakdale residents, are PFC levels comparable to the U.S. general population and are they linked to length of residents in Oakdale?
I would like to thank MDH and everyone participating in this study. This is an important issue and we need to make sure the steps taken in the mid-2000s have been successful. I am looking forward to seeing the results and hope to see continued good signs.
As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions regarding any issue. I encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you’d like me to stop by your home or apartment. Also, please tune in to my local cable TV show, ‘Your Capitol: What’s Up?,’ which appears on public access channels 15 and 16. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at 651-296-6820.