Soil from sports fields at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School and the Oak Bluffs School were found to have traces of PFAS chemicals, but at levels below the Massachusetts and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s threshold for direct human contact and protection for the groundwater.

The school district enlisted a firm to take four soil samples at the two schools in Oak Bluffs and test for per- and polyfluorinated alkyl (PFAS) substances last year.

Steven LaRosa, a senior technical leader whose company Weston and Sampon Engineers reviewed the soil analytical data, told the Oak Bluffs select board about the findings Tuesday, stating that neither field had samples that were above the state and federal guidelines.

“What they see out there is that these estimated and reported levels are well below those concentrations,” he said. “So that’s great news.”

Six PFAS compounds were found at the high school. Eight compounds were found at the Oak Bluffs school.

PFAS are a slew of manmade chemicals found in everything from firefighting foams to nonstick pans, waterproof clothing to upholstered furniture. Their presence in water and soil have raised alarms throughout the state and the chemicals have been connected to problems with the thyroid, liver, kidney and immune system.

On the Island, the chemicals have come up at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport in wells near the West Tisbury fire station. But nowhere else has it been more a hot button issue than at the center of the battle for a turf playing field at the high school. Several opponents worried that putting in a turf field could introduce more PFAS into the watershed.

Weston and Sampson noted that the existing concentrations found at the Oak Bluffs school were higher than at the high school, and both were higher or about the same found in 2021 turf tests.

The soil analysis was commissioned by the school district, which is currently suing the Oak Bluffs planning board over the denial of its plans for the turf field last year.

Note: Updated to correct Weston and Sampson Engineers role in the process.