Congressmen Continue Push For Federal Health Screenings and Studies in Horsham
WASHINGTON – Congressmen Patrick Meehan (R-PA.), Brendan Boyle (D-PA) and Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA) recently sent a letter to the director of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases Registry (ATSDR) seeking the health agency’s position on the Navy’s refusal to authorize blood testing for the communities surrounding the former Naval Air Warfare Center Warminster, former Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove, and Horsham Air Guard Station in Pennsylvania. The congressmen also asked the agency to conduct updated community health studies, and release recent toxicological studies on the human health impacts of exposure to Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).
Recently, Congressmen Meehan, Boyle and Fitzpatrick and Senators Casey and Toomey asked the Navy to provide health screenings for Horsham and Warminster residents. In response, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy Karnig Ohannessian explained that, after consultation with ATSDR, blood testing was not advisable in these communities.
In this latest letter, the congressmen asked ATSDR to clarify its reasons for not recommending the blood tests, as well as under what circumstances ATSDR would recommend such testing and monitoring in the affected communities.
The congressmen also pointed out the fact that the most recent ATSDR health assessment for the area was conducted in 2002, before the drinking water contamination became known. That study did not reference health risks associated with PFOA, PFOS, or other perfluorinated compounds. The lawmakers urged ATSDR to perform a new study as well as focused Health Consultations, and pointed out that nearly 70,000 Pennsylvanians may have been exposed to these contaminants through municipal and private drinking water in the Horsham, Warrington, and Warminster communities.
Congressmen Meehan and Boyle will partner with the Horsham Township Council to co-host a Health Expert Panel Discussion on the latest studies pertaining to human exposure to PFOA and PFOS on August 29 at Hatboro Horsham High School. Representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ATSDR, Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and Pennsylvania Department of Health have been invited and are expected to participate in the panel discussion. The public is invited to attend.