November 15. 2021Richmond and Henrico Health Districts encourage local residents who live near Richmond International Airport or White Oak Swamp and use well water to attend the informational PFAS webinar Tuesday, November 16 from 7 – 8 p.m. 

PFAS are widely used, long-lasting chemicals with components that do not break down naturally over time. PFAS are used in the manufacturing of a number of consumer products including non-stick cookware, carpets and fabric, paper and cardboard packaging. Studies have examined a possible relationship between long-term PFAS exposure and various health risks, including increased cholesterol, decreased vaccine response in children, changes in liver enzymes, increased risk of high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women, small decreases in birth weight, and increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer. 

In recent weeks, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) received reports from Newport News Waterworks (NNWW) that PFAS was found at high levels in the Chickahominy River watershed. This area includes parts of eastern Henrico County near the Richmond International Airport. 

Since receiving this information, Henrico County has begun sampling of surface water in the White Oak Swamp to validate and verify the results of the testing conducted by NNWW. VDH and DEQ are developing sampling plans, in concert with Henrico County, to learn of potential human and environmental impacts and to inform mitigation strategies related to public health. The November 16 webinar will inform residents of the plan, its progress thus far, and general information about PFAS. Results of the testing and investigation may not yet be available at the time of the webinar, but the involved agencies will continue to keep residents informed as more information becomes available. 

At this time, Henrico residents on well water can continue normal use of their water. However, they are encouraged to stay tuned for any action items that may arise following testing and investigation.

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