Starting this month, officials from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) will begin recruiting participants for the East Metro Perfluorochemical (PFC) Biomonitoring Study.

The study will directly measure the amount of the PFCs in 200 participants who live in the east metro area, where the drinking water has been found to contain the chemicals.

The 3M Company produced PFCs at its Cottage Grove facility from the late 1940s until 2002. Common products that contain the chemicals include non-stick cookware, stain resistant carpets and fabrics, fire-fighting foam, adn other industrial applications.

The study stems from 2007 state legislation directing the MDH to develop and implement a statewide Environmental Health Tracking and Biomonitoring program.

It will determine whether adults in the study area have elevated levels of PFCs in their bodies compared to the general population, based on data collected nationally.

To be eligible for the study, adults must live in households served by the Oakdale municipal water supply or houses in Lake Elmo and Cottage Grove with private wells contaminated with perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and/or perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Adults must be age 20 or older and lived in their current home before Jan. 1, 2005. One-hundred will be selected from Oakdale and Lake Elmo/Cottage Grove.

Letters will be sent to 500 randomly selected households in Oakdale served by the city water supply. In Cottage Grove and Lake Elmo, letters will be sent based on MDH records of private wells that have been sampled.

When selected, participants will be asked to provide a blood sample. Results will be available to participants who request to see their own, as well as information on how to interpret the results and a comparison to the national average.

As a whole, the confidential results of all participants will help health officials make recommendations about further public health actions. However, the study will only provide information on blood levels of PFCs in the people who participate, not about any health effects associated with the chemicals.

The MDH could submit its results in a required report to the Legislature as early as next year.

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