Pennsylvania gets $5M grant to study health effects of PFAS

Jim Melwert
September 24, 2019 - 3:18 pm

MONTGOMERY COUNTY , Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Pennsylvania is getting a $5 million grant to study health effects of chemical used in firefighting foam at the Willow Grove Naval Air Station that contaminated water supply. 

The chemicals are known as PFAS, and for years now, state Rep. Todd Stephens, born and raised in Horsham, has been calling for an in-depth health study. 

Stephens said the chemicals have been linked to cancer and other serious diseases, but there just isn’t enough information.

“I’ve gone to my own personal physician and asked him some questions and after some research, he didn’t have any answers for me because there’s just a real lack of understanding about the long-term health effects from these chemicals," he said.

The grant comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. 

Children and adults will be picked, though Stephens said at this point, it’s unclear exactly how they’ll be selected. They’ll get blood tests and other screenings, and their medical history will be reviewed.

PFAS was used in firefighting foam during drills at the naval air base, and the chemicals leaked into groundwater. Horsham, Warrington, and Warminster have installed filters to remove the chemicals from drinking water. 

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EPA has resisted a zero-detect standard in part because they say there’s no conclusive evidence of the health effects of the chemicals.

State and local officials have repeatedly called on the federal government to clean up the contamination, saying it was the Department of Defense that created the problem. But to date, those calls have fallen on deaf ears.