Shaheen secures $15 million more for PFAS health study

December 22, 2020

Government funding legislation passed by Congress includes $15 million more for a national PFAS health study created by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen.

That brings the total monies Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat, has secured for the first PFAS public health study to $45 million.

The funding legislation, which is now slated to be signed into law by President Donald Trump, also includes $1 million in monies for new grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support the development of education courses on best practices for physicians who are caring for patients with significant PFAS exposure, Shaheen's office said Tuesday.

Shaheen and U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, previously introduced bipartisan legislation to create grants for best practices courses.

"This government funding legislation helps get us one step closer to delivering long overdue answers to New Hampshire?families who've been exposed to these dangerous chemicals," said Shaheen. "The PFAS health impact?study is so important for Granite Staters, but will also have far-reaching implications for others who are?similarly affected in communities across the country."

"We know there are adverse health issues tied to?PFAS exposure but there is still so much more that we need to understand to determine health?guidelines and shape policy to keep people safe," Shaheen said. "That's why it’s important that this bill includes $15 million for the health study, more than $50 million for PFAS research and remediation at the EPA and partner agencies, and federal investments to address safety concerns related to firefighters’ exposure to PFAS through their personal protective gear."

The $1 million for education grants will "help empower physicians with the information and resources they need to provide the best care possible to those who’ve been exposed to these dangerous chemicals," Shaheen said.

"I’ll continue to pursue every policy and avenue that will help deliver urgently needed answers that our communities need and deserve," she added Tuesday.

The monies are part of the $2.3 trillion government spending bill.

Thousands of people working at Pease International Tradeport, along with children and infants who attended two day cares there, were exposed to multiple PFAS chemicals from contaminated water in the city-owned Haven well until its closure in 2014.

The water was contaminated by firefighting foam used at the former Pease Air Force Base, which also exposed airmen to the contamination.

PFAS are man-made chemicals used in products worldwide since the 1950s, including firefighting foam, non-stick cookware and water-repellent fabrics.

They also have a range of applications in the aerospace, aviation, automotive and electronics industries, among others.

In addition to being a suspected carcinogen, PFAS exposure can harm childhood development, increase cholesterol levels, damage the immune system and interfere with the human hormones, according to the Agency For Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, which is conducting the health study.

The national PFAS Health Study – along with the Pease pilot study – was created through legislation crafted and pushed through Congress by Shaheen.

By:  Jeff McMenemy
Source: Foster's Daily Democrat