Washington, D.C. - Following efforts by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY2018 will include an authorization of funding to begin a comprehensive, nationwide study of the impacts of perflourinated chemical (PFC) contamination on human health. Hundreds of communities around the country, including the Pennsylvania communities near Horsham Air Station and the former Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove, have seen elevated PFC levels as a result of the military’s use of a firefighting chemical called Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF). Senator Casey has repeatedly urged the military services to develop alternative firefighting chemicals and to end the use of AFFF.
“The right to pure water is established in our Commonwealth’s Constitution. I am grateful for the Armed Services Committee’s attention to this issue, especially to Senator Shaheen, whose constituents are also living through this nightmare,” said Senator Casey. “It is clear that PFC contamination of drinking water is affecting hundreds of communities around our Nation, and we must take legislative action. My constituents – and all Americans affected by this contamination – deserve answers about the impact it will have on their health and their children’s health.”
Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established health advisory levels for PFCs, constituents still have questions about how decades of AFFF use impacts their drinking water and their health. Beginning last year, Senator Casey has been pushing for Department of Defense (DOD) to work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and EPA to initiate a comprehensive, scientifically rigorous study of the health effects of PFC contamination.
In May 2017, Senator Casey secured report language in the FY17 appropriations bill that requires DOD to report to Congress on the number of military installations where AFFF was used, the impact of PFC contaminated drinking water on the surrounding communities, and plans for prompt remediation. That report is due to Congress at the beginning of August.
These two legislative requirements will help increase transparency of the PFC contamination issue and help affected communities get the answers they deserve.