As state officials continue their investigation of contamination caused by a group known as “forever chemical” compounds, hundreds of residents and staff stationed on a U.S. Air Force Base in eastern New Mexico can have their blood tests.

New Mexico Environment Department announced on Tuesday that they are looking for a contractor to conduct the tests this spring. The plan is to hold two events in which up to 500 adults living within a few mile radius of Cannon Air Force Base can have a small sample of blood taken and tested for the presence of PFAS.

The survey will also be conducted to determine the potential exposure of those who live near the base.


Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, or PFAS for short, are linked to cancer in humans and other health issues. These chemicals are known as “forever chemical” because they do not degrade and remain in your bloodstream.

Chemicals have been found at hundreds of military bases across the United States. This will result in billions of dollars of cleanup costs. New Mexico officials reported that contamination at Cannon Air Force base and Holloman Air Force base in southern New Mexico has already cost the state more than $8 million for site assessment, cleanup and litigation.

Air Force spent over $67 million so far on response to contamination of PFAS at Cannon.

Residents and staff at an air force base in eastern New Mexico will have the opportunity to take blood tests as PFAS contamination is a concern.

James Kenney, the state’s environment secretary, said that PFAS chemicals were used in so many products for consumers that most New Mexicans would have a small amount of it in their blood. He said those who live close to military bases could be at greater risk.

Kenney stated in a press release that “this data will help us quantify if there are higher risks and inform our efforts to better protect New Mexicans.”

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed federal limits for forever chemicals in drinking waters at the beginning of 2023. These limits would limit them to levels that can be detected by tests. New Mexico had petitioned to the agency before, asking that PFAS be treated as hazardous.

New Mexico’s state government and the U.S. Department of Defense has been in disagreement over responsibilities to mitigate PFAS contamination on installations, including Cannon Air Force Base and Holloman Air Force Base.

The Highland Dairy, Clovis, euthanized over 3,000 cows near Cannon in 2022 following confirmation of PFAS contamination within the herd and in the milk produced by the cows.

In November, Cannon officials held a public meeting to inform the public of their progress. The base is currently determining the extent and nature of contamination both on and off-base. This work included the collection of soil and water samples, as well as installation of monitoring wells. Plans call for the eventual construction of a treatment facility.


The New Mexico Environment Department offered to test private domestic wells in the state for PFAS last year. The U.S. Geological Survey helped with this sampling, and the results showed that PFAS compounds weren’t detected in most of the wells.

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