Dec. 14, 2018

HARRISBURG—Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) is urging residents who received drinking water contaminated with PFAS to attend a meeting next week where the results of the pilot program testing for PFAS in the blood of those who drank local water will be discussed.

The meeting was arranged at the request of Stephens who asked Gov. Tom Wolf in a Nov. 29 letter to bring the administration’s PFAS Action Team to Horsham to meet with residents directly.

“This important meeting will give residents a chance to ask question about the most recent testing and have their concerns heard,” Stephens said.

The meeting will take place Wednesday, Dec. 19, 6 p.m., at Upper Dublin High School, 800 Loch Alsh Ave., in Fort Washington. The results of the PFAS pilot study will be discussed by state epidemiologist Dr. Sharon M. Watkins. Dr. Christopher M. Reh, associate director of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, will discuss the National Exposure Study.

“There is vast disagreement in the scientific community about whether there is a ‘safe’ level of consumption for the chemicals in question and, if so, what that level might be,” Stephens wrote. “Further evidence of the lack of understanding of the harm these chemicals may cause may be found in the national effort underway to study the health effects resulting from exposure to these chemicals. To best protect Pennsylvania residents, I firmly believe we must not tolerate any detectable level of these chemicals in our drinking water in Pennsylvania.”

In 2016, Stephens called for the federal government to provide carbon filters to remove PFAS from drinking water, blood testing, a comprehensive health study and biomonitoring for any residents exposed to the chemicals to understand the long-term health effects of this exposure.

Fire suppressants used during training exercises at the naval base contained PFAS which leached into ground water. The blood testing performed on a sample of residents from around the base showed elevated levels of the contaminant.

PFAS is a family of compounds resistant to heat once used by industry and in consumer products including carpeting, apparel, upholstery, fire-fighting foams and metal plating.

While some communities are now using carbon filters to remove detectable levels of the contaminants from their water, more work must be done,” Stephens said.

In his letter to Wolf, Stephens continued to call for accountability.

“Those who polluted our drinking water must be held accountable,” Stephens wrote. “Accordingly, I continue to believe the federal government should provide blood tests and continued biomonitoring for anyone who has been exposed to these chemicals in addition to the aforementioned comprehensive study of potential health effects. In addition, any entities responsible for the pollution, including the federal government, should be forced to bear the costs of remediating contamination they caused, not the ratepayers or municipal governments.”

Representative Todd Stephens
151st District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: David Foster