House-Passed Defense Bill Includes Meehan PFOS/PFOA Health Screening Measure
The House of Representatives today approved annual defense legislation that included language authored by Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) that authorizes the Department of Defense to partner with local governments to provide health screenings for residents in areas near former military installations affected by the presence of PFOS/PFOA compounds in groundwater wells.
PFOS/PFOA compounds have been detected in public and private groundwater wells in Horsham, Montgomery County and surrounding communities stemming from the use of certain firefighting foams at the former Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base in Willow Grove and the Naval Air Warfare Center in Warminster. Meehan has been a leader in the bipartisan effort to bring relief to these communities.
“Residents in the communities surrounding these installations have been exposed to these compounds for decades,” said Congressman Meehan. “These families deserve to know how years of ingesting these compounds has affected their health, and comprehensive screenings will give them and their doctors invaluable information about possible future complications. These families ingested these compounds through no fault of their own, and they shouldn’t be on the hook for the screenings needed to determine the extent of their exposure.”
“Passage of this measure by the House is an important and necessary step in the effort to bring relief to the communities affected and I’m grateful to my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee for their support in this process,” Meehan said.
Meehan’s amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 2810, was adopted unanimously during debate on the bill this week. The broader bill was approved by the House this morning in a bipartisan 344-81 vote.
Specifically, the Meehan Amendment:
"Authorizes the Secretary of Defense to enter into intergovernmental agreements to provide for health screenings in communities near formerly used defense sites that have been identified by the Secretary as sources of perfluorooctanesuflonic acid and perfluorooctanoic acid."
Last year, Meehan partnered with Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.) to introduce standalone legislation that authorizes Pentagon funding for health screenings.
Other bipartisan PFOS/PFOA-related amendments co-sponsored by Rep. Meehan and included in the legislation require reports on the topic. An amendment authored by Rep. Boyle requires a report on the Pentagon’s progress in developing an alternative to the firefighting foam responsible for the PFOS/PFOA compounds. Another amendment by Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) requires a study of the health effects of exposure to PFOS/PFOA compounds as a result of the foams.