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Do not drink water or swim in water at Lake Holloman

SANTA FE, NM – The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) reports water samplesrecently collected at Lake Holloman on Holloman Air Force Base contain high levels of per- and polyfluorinated compounds (PFAS). The lake is fed by treated wastewater from Holloman Air Force Base. Therefore, swimming in Lake Holloman is already not allowed and the lake water is not suitable for drinking.

In light of the recent analytical results, NMDOH recommends that visitors to this area should not:

  • Ingest water or foam from the lake
  • Swim in the lake 
  • Touch the water if possible.

If you do get water or foam from the lake on your hands, wash them with soap and clean water before eating. Pet owners should avoid allowing animals to drink or come into contact with the water or foam. If a pet does come into contact with the water or foam, rinse the animal with clean water before petting it.

On windy days there can be a lot of foam present at the lake. While NMDOH didn’t test the foam, other states with contaminated sites have shown that PFAS concentrations are greater in foam than water.

PFAS does not enter the body very well through skin contact; the primary concern is ingesting the water. While visitors may not intentionally drink the water at Lake Holloman, accidental ingestion can occur. For example, after kayaking in the lake, PFAS can be transferred from your hands to your food. Also, if dogs wade into the water and you pet them, you can transfer PFAS from your hands to your food.

PFAS are a diverse group of chemicals which may have harmful human health effects. The potential health effects of these compounds depend on how much you consume, how long you are exposed, and personal factors including age, lifestyle and overall health.

For more information about PFAS, please go here.

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