Paulsboro PFAS

Health Study

Drinking Water and Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances

Community Information Session via Zoom

October 29, 2020 - 7:00 PM

Register to attend this Zoom event!

The Rutgers School of Public Health will be studying the health effects from drinking water contaminated by PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in Paulsboro, NJ and other sites in Gloucester County.  The study is part of a multisite study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) at 8 locations across the US.  The Paulsboro PFAS Health Study is anticipated to begin in January 2021.

  • In 2009 and 2013, tests found PFAS in the drinking water from the Paulsboro Public Water System (PWS). The contaminated well #7 was shut down in April of 2014.  Well #7 was reopened and has been filtered to remove PFAS since June of 2016.

Why is Rutgers University doing a study on PFAS in Paulsboro?

  • Paulsboro was selected for the study because residents were exposed to drinking water that contained PFAS.
  • The study will recruit participants to evaluate their PFAS blood levels, health measures like cholesterol levels and thyroid function, and medical history to learn how PFAS may affect health.
  • Rutgers, the CDC, and ATSDR want to understand more about PFAS health effects, because little is known and some studies have shown that PFAS may be harmful.

Paulsboro Health Study Participants

Participants in the Paulsboro PFAS health study must meet the following criteria:

An adult aged 18 or older who lived in Paulsboro at any time from January 2005 to April of 2014.

A child aged 6 through 17 who has parent or guardian permission and who lived in Paulsboro at any time from conception to April of 2014.

What are some benefits to Paulsboro study participants?

Participants will:

Help health scientists to understand how PFAS affect health.

Receive their individual test results, which they can share with their doctors to monitor their health.

Up to $75 in gift cards for completing the study.

How are participant’s results handled?

Rutgers, CDC, and ATSDR are careful to protect personal information and maintain privacy and confidentiality.

Researchers will analyze test results to learn more about the possible health effects of PFAS exposure.

After the study ends and results are analyzed, Rutgers, CDC, and ATSDR will share results as soon as possible and will write and share a report with the public.

What are opportunities for community members to get involved?


A Citizen Advisory Panel (CAP) will be made up of a majority of residents of Paulsboro

The CAP members will:

  • Support the mission of the study.
  • Advise researchers on community environmental health concerns.
  • Assist in translating research to be understood by the community.
  • “Open doors” to the community by identifying appropriate partnerships.
  • Give input in the planning of research that asks critical questions

Possible additional opportunities:

  • Canvassing door-to-door, “neighbor-to-neighbor”
  • Tabling at Community Events
  • Environmental Health Leadership Training
  • Small grant opportunities


What are PFAS?

PFAS are man-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products since the 1950s, including some cosmetics; water, grease and oil-resistant products; and firefighting foam. The chemicals include PFNA (perfluorononanoic acid) a PFAS compound which was found in the drinking water in Paulsboro in 2009 and 2013.  The contaminated well was shut down in April 2014 and reopened with filtration in June of 2016.  

Some studies have shown that PFAS may:

  • Adversely affect growth, learning, and behavior of infants and children
  • Lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant
  • Interfere with the body’s natural hormones
  • Increase cholesterol levels
  • Affect the immune system
  • Increase the risks for some cancers

We have much to learn about the potential health effects of exposure to PFAS.

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