By Alicia Roberts

SOUTHAMPTON, Pa. (CBS) — A local study is searching for 1,000 adults, and 300 children from Bucks and Montgomery Counties. They may have been exposed to dangerous chemicals in their drinking water.

“I grew up right down the street, we drank well water our whole life,” PFAS study participant Renee Frugoli said.

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Frugoli is one of many Southampton residents who grew up unknowingly drinking well water contaminated with high levels of PFAS.

“Streets of people that we went to school with had kids that had cancer. It touched almost everyone in this area, at least one family member,” she said.

It’s a heartache that hit her family in 2007 when her then 3-year-old daughter Felicia was diagnosed with stage 5 kidney cancer.

“When you realize it’s because you were doing something you thought was helpful, giving them water that is supposed to be the best thing to drink, and you realize that you were giving them poison it makes you feel terrible,” Frugoli said.

“We definitely know that PFAS is related to kidney cancer and testicular cancer. It can affect your liver enzymes, it can affect neuro behaviors in children,” said Joanne Stanton, who now oversees the Buxmont Coalition for Safer Water.

Stanton’s son also had cancer as a child.

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She is looking to recruit adults and children from 11 townships near two former Bucks and Montgomery County military bases that used firefighting foam containing PFAS.

“The firefighting foam would seep into the ground and it would get into our drinking water wells,” she said.

Participants will answer questions and give a blood sample to help identify the long-term side effects.

The results of this local study will be combined with data from six other sites across the country.

“There’s some preventative things that we can do,” Stanton said.

While the water here is now regularly tested and safe to drink the hope is that children like Felicia, who is now 17 and a healthy high school rising senior, never again have to worry.

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“We have to stop this. We have to get involved,” Frugoli said.

Alicia Roberts