North Wales, PA – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) sat down with local elected officials and several municipal administrators to discuss ways to help the communities in Bucks and Montgomery Counties who have been affected by the perfluorinated compound (PFC) contamination in their drinking water. The contamination, caused by fire-fighting foam used at military installations, has led to thousands of families exposed to unsafe drinking water.
Following the meeting, Casey sent a letter to the Department of Defense, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, asking them to coordinate the development and implementation of a rigorous health study of PFC contamination of the drinking water in these communities.
“Determining the health effects of PFC contamination in drinking water is essential to establish a baseline for addressing concerns that are likely to spread across many communities across our nation,” Senator Casey wrote. “The residents of these communities deserve answers.”
Senator Casey recently introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would require DOD to publicly report on water contamination due to the use of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) and develop plans for remediation. While the amendment was not included in the final bill, Casey has continued to push DOD to provide remediation for the communities affected.
The full text of the letter is below.
On behalf of my constituents in Southeastern Pennsylvania, I ask you to coordinate the development and implementation of a rigorous health study of PFC contamination of the drinking water in the areas around Horsham, Warrington and Warminster, Pennsylvania. The residents of these communities have raised concerns about health conditions that may be connected with the ingestion of this contaminated water, and they deserve answers.
I have pressed for legislation that would require the Department of Defense (DOD) to remediate drinking water contamination in areas where the firefighting agent Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) was used and I have asked DOD to fund blood tests for area residents. I was disappointed in the DOD’s response, which declined to pursue blood testing in the absence of a broader health study.
If DOD will not pursue blood testing without a broader scientific study of health effects, then a study is warranted. DOD should fund a joint DOD-CDC-EPA health study that will give the affected communities some clarity on the impact this exposure has had on their health.
The widespread use of AFFF across our Nation indicates that Warminster and Horsham are likely to be just two of many communities adversely impacted. Determining the health effects of PFC contamination in drinking water is essential to establish a baseline for addressing concerns that are likely to spread across many communities across our Nation.
I stand ready to work with you on this important matter and to communicate with Pennsylvanians about the steps that your agencies are taking to address this problem. Thank you for your attention to the concerns outlined above.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator