Chemicals in drinking water near military bases more dangerous than thought

EPA and Department of Defense wanted to block the release of a new report.

Jim Melwert
June 21, 2018 - 1:36 pm
Willow Grove Naval Air Station

William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

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HORSHAM, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — A new federal report says chemicals in water near military bases — like the former Willow Grove Naval Air Station — are more dangerous than previously thought. 

The new report from the U.S. Department of Health’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry says the safe level of Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), also known as C8, which is a chemical used in making Teflon, is about one-tenth of what the EPA previously said was safe. 

State Rep. Todd Stephens from Horsham — who grew up drinking the contaminated water and has been fighting for federal action — points out that EPA level was just recently lowered.

“It’s aggravating as hell," Stephens said. "We keep going around in this cycle of new information drips out, then they’ll come back and say now everything’s fine, and then in a couple years new information will drip out. Instead just give us all the information.”

That information, he says, needs to include bio-monitoring and full health studies of everyone who’s been exposed to learn what effects the chemicals may have. 

Perfluorocarbons, or PFCs, have been linked to certain cancers, liver problems, thyroid issues, and other health issues.

This study made headlines last month when reports surfaced the EPA and Department of Defense wanted to block its release, out of concerns of “a public relations nightmare.”

Stephens said state and local government and residents have been footing the bill for safe water while the federal government drags its feet.

Rep. Brendan Boyle and state Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick joined forces to fight for its release. They both say they'll continue to push for federal action.