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CDPHE advises people with wells in Woodmen Valley to drink bottled water

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is advising residents with wells in Woodmen Valley to avoid drinking or cooking with the possibly contaminated water. Instead, state health officials advise residents to drink bottled water or install a reverse osmosis filtration system.

The recommendation comes as the state agency awaits for test results from the Air Force Academy, which found high levels of PFOS chemicals in its own groundwater.

John Putnam, the director of environmental programs for CDPHE, explained Thursday that PFOS is a family of man-made chemicals that include fluorine in the chemical. He says they were developed in the middle of the last century as products to protect against grease and oil and water.

“A number of studies, although not all studies, have shown [PFOS chemicals] have been connected to effects on the ability of a woman to get pregnant, effects on cholesterol, on your natural hormones and also the potential for risk of cancer,” Putnam said.

Putnam said the agency is already planning the next step if the private wells test high in the chemicals.

“We’ll work with the Air Force to make sure people have clean water to drink and that could be the bottled water, the reverse osmosis system, maybe hooking up the city water,” Putnam said. “But we want to make sure we find where people are drinking this material and ensure that they have safe drinking water.”

Other Air Force bases have been dealing with the issue: the Peterson Air Force also investigated PFOS in the groundwater after the use of firefighting chemicals.

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