Health agents in West Tisbury are encouraging private property owners to take advantage of a free well water testing program to check for the chemicals known as PFAS, which have contaminated multiple wells south of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport.

“They’re odorless, tasteless, manmade and not biodegradable,” assistant health agent William Droheim said of the group of chemicals, which are used in firefighting foam and many consumer products such as carpets and food packaging.

Health impacts from PFAS are still being studied, but research has suggested risks to pregnant women and effects on the liver, kidneys, thyroid, immune system and some hormones, according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, which is sponsoring the well testing program in partnership with the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

The chemicals are also under scrutiny at the federal level, where new regulations are being considered and debated.

Free testing by mail is available for up to 40 private drinking water wells in West Tisbury, Mr. Droheim told the Gazette Monday afternoon.

“It’s a program run through the state, but we’re advertising it,” he said. “If you’re concerned about your private well, this is a great resource.”

While most of the agents’ outreach has been taking place via the town website, health agent Omar Johnson has also gone door to door in the neighborhoods closest to the contaminated wells, Mr. Droheim said.

“We’re just trying to . . . make sure everyone is safe,” he said.

To take part in the free testing program, homeowners first sign up online, Mr. Droheim said.

Once the state has verified they’re eligible, a water testing kit will be mailed out, with return postage paid, according to the announcement on the town website.

The post also warns that the supply of test kits is limited.

Only towns in which 60 per cent or more of residents obtain their drinking water from wells are eligible to take part in the testing program.