Shaheen secures funding for national PFAS health studyMarch 21, 2018
PORTSMOUTH - U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., announced late Wednesday that she has procured $7 million for the first-ever national health study on PFAS exposure in drinking water.
The monies are included in the bipartisan legislation unveiled Wednesday to fund the federal government for fiscal year 2018, which also directs the Defense Department to report on the extent of the PFC contamination in drinking water, plans for community notification and procedures for timely remediation.
Shaheen had previously included an amendment in the Defense Authorization Act that authorized the study.
“New Hampshire families have gone too long without answers about the health impact of emerging contaminants in their water supplies, and how it could affect their children and loved ones, which is why securing the funding to move this study forward has been a top priority,” Shaheen said. “It is completely unacceptable that parents in our community, and those in affected communities across the nation, have to worry about the safety of their children’s drinking water because of this contamination. I’m pleased by the bipartisan support for this study. Going forward, I’ll continue to advocate for New Hampshire communities to be included in the health study so that Granite State families can have the peace of mind that they deserve.”
Shaheen, the N.H. congressional delegation and former City Councilor Stefany Shaheen have worked for years on the issue with local community groups.
The city closed the Haven well in May 2014 at the former Pease Air Force Base after the Air Force found perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, or PFOS, at levels dramatically higher than what was then the Environmental Protection Agency’s provisional health advisory.
The EPA has since substantially lowered its permanent health advisory for both PFOS and perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, which they’ve classified as “contaminants of emerging concern” because of their suspected health effects.
The health advisory is 70 parts per trillion for PFOS or PFOA or a combination of the two.
Studies on the toxic PFAS chemicals, which are suspected carcinogens, have determined they could also cause low birth weights, harm a child’s development and increase cholesterol, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
Andrea Amico, a Portsmouth mother who began the fight in 2014 to get people exposed to the PFAS chemicals to receive blood tests, called the announcement by Shaheen “awesome news.”
“This is outstanding news and the Pease community is extremely grateful for the health study,” Amico said Wednesday night.
Amico’s husband and two of her three children were exposed to the PFAS chemicals at what is now the Pease International Tradeport and have high levels of the chemicals in their body.
“As a parent myself I have a lot of worries about the health of my children,” Amico said. “The opportunity to have them included in the health study that might help people across the country is incredible news.”
She praised Shaheen and the state’s congressional delegation for their dedication to the issue.
“I think the way our congressional delegation has worked on this issue has set the bar very high and should be a model for how other delegations respond to the concerns of their community,” Amico said.
She also discounted the arguments that just because PFAS levels in drinking water is below the EPA advisory means it’s safe.
“I don’t think a chemical that builds up in your body and stays there for years is safe,” Amico said. “I don’t think there should be any of these chemicals in our water. I think the standard should be non-detect.”
By: Jeff McMenemy
Source: Seacoast Online
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