The Hawaii Department of Health has expanded its health survey of people affected by the petroleum contamination in the Navy’s drinking water system. Previously it was available to just the civilian population, but health officials are now seeking information from all users of the Navy’s water system, including military families and anyone affiliated with the U.S. Department of Defense.
The survey is available to residents who live in neighborhoods in and around Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam that are on the Navy’s water system, as well as people who work in the area, and parents who send their children to the area’s schools.
“We are very pleased to open this health assessment survey to all people affected by the water contamination,” said Hawaiʻi State Department of Health Toxicologist Dr. Diana Felton in a press release. “This expansion will help us better understand the health impacts of this contamination event and determine what steps are needed to protect public health.”
The survey is being administered with the assistance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Federal and state health officials say that the expansion will help capture a more complete picture of the health impacts from the fuel contamination. The Department of Defense began a survey and health registry last month, but it was only available to military families.
In late November, hundreds of families in the area began reporting a fuel odor in their water, as well as a range of health effects associated with drinking or having contact with petroleum contaminated water, such as vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, skin rashes and burning skin. The Navy and DOH subsequently confirmed that the Navy’s drinking water system had been contaminated with jet fuel.
The survey includes questions about the means of exposure, health symptoms and any medical care that was sought. It also includes any impacts on the participant’s children or pets.
While the survey will result in a publicly-released report, participants’ identities will be kept confidential.