Jan. 28, 2021

HARRISBURG—Reps. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery), Meghan Schroeder (R-Bucks) and Todd Polinchock (R-Bucks) sent a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf asking him to include $1.6 million in funding for Temple University to study the links between cancer and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFAS) as a part of the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s PFAS health study. 

“We’ve made great progress in making water customers whole after local water utilities spent millions to filter PFAS from local drinking water,” Stephens said. “Now we need to understand the ramifications of the PFAS on our health.”

“While PFAS exposure is suspected of causing numerous health issues, we must know for sure,” Schroeder said.  “The type of study that Temple University can execute will help provide those answers for residents who need to make future healthcare decisions.”

“But the only way this can get done is if the governor steps up to fund this study,” Polinchock said.  

For decades, the former Willow Grove Naval Air Station conducted military training exercises using aqueous film-forming foam in firefighter training activities. This foam contained PFAS and contaminated the drinking water supplies in Horsham and Warrington. 

PFAS was also discovered in drinking water near the former Naval Air Development Center in Warminster.

In the letter to the governor, the representatives point out that a “preliminary cancer review study conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry a few years ago found statistically significant increases in certain cancers in these communities. We feel this preliminary cancer review study warrants further investigations.”

Dr. Resa M. Jones, from Temple University School of Public Health, in collaboration with the PA DOH, has agreed to complete the missing cancer component of the health study. She estimates it will cost $1.6 million to complete her work.

“It is critically important for the residents of the community to fully understand the health effects that result from long-term exposure to PFAS in drinking water and we respectfully suggest you include funding for this research in the 2021-2022 budget,” they wrote in their letter.

PFAS substances were commonly used in coating paper and cardboard packaging products, carpets, non-stick pans and textiles, as well as firefighting foams. These substances have been detected in air, water and soil in and around production manufacturing facilities, airports and military bases that used firefighting foams. 

Representative Todd Stephens
151st District
Representative Meghan Schroeder
29th District
Representative Todd Polinchock
144th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: David Foster