"CHESAPEAKE, Va. -- High levels of contaminants from a firefighting foam that was used for decades at Fentress Naval Auxiliary Landing Field were found in its well water during a recent laboratory test, leading Navy officials Wednesday to tell workers to drink only bottled water until a permanent solution is available.
It’s unclear how much of a health risk the contaminants pose, although some studies have indicated there’s an elevated risk for cancer in animals and damage to human liver cells and an association with thyroid disease. Other studies have shown exposure may cause elevated cholesterol levels and low birth weight in humans.
The Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t regulate perfluorinated compounds, the contaminants, but it considers them an “emerging contaminant” that could threaten health or the environment. The EPA is studying the contaminants to figure out whether regulations for acceptable levels are needed. The man-made chemicals are readily absorbed after oral exposure and accumulate primarily in the serum, kidney and liver, according to an EPA fact sheet."