House Passes Boyle Amendment to Fully Fund Federal Health Agency Overseeing Local, National Water Contamination
WASHINGTON, DC – Last night the U.S. House of Representatives adopted Congressman Brendan F. Boyle’s (PA-13) amendment to provide $1.9 million additional funding for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases Registry (ATSDR) in the coming fiscal year. The ATSDR is the agency heading local medical testing and health studies in response to water contamination stemming from the use of AFFF firefighting chemicals at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove and Horsham Air Guard Station. Congressman Boyle’s amendment is now attached to H.R. 3354, the ‘Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act, 2018,’ which is expected to pass the House next week.
“Thorough health screenings and on-the-ground investigations are essential to a comprehensive response to the contamination in our community,” said Congressman Boyle. “This amendment will ensure that the residents of Willow Grove and Horsham, and neighborhoods all across the country that have been affected by PFOA and PFOS chemicals in their drinking water, can benefit from the life-saving research and expertise provided by a fully-funded ATSDR. I’m fighting to secure every possible resource for those suffering from the effects of water contamination, and to ensure their health concerns are taken extremely seriously by our federal government.”
The ATSDR, a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects communities from harmful health effects related to exposure to natural and man-made hazardous substances by investigating public health threats and emergencies and providing guidance for state and local officials. Congressman Boyle convened a public town hall with officials from the ATSDR, EPA, CDC, U.S. Navy, Pennsylvania Air National Guard, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania Department of Health at Hatboro-Horsham High School in August of 2016 in order to enable local residents to discuss their concerns and have their questions answered directly by those responsible for the federal response to the local contamination.
In August of 2016, Congressman Boyle led a letter to the ATSDR requesting that the agency conduct updated community health studies in the affected areas and release recent toxicological studies on the human health impacts of exposure to Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). In July, he passed an amendment securing an additional $60 million in environmental remediation funding for the Navy and Air Force to address water contamination caused by AFFF firefighting chemicals containing PFOA and PFOS compounds, as well as another amendment requiring the Department of Defense to evaluate and report to Congress on safe, effective alternatives to AFFF that do not contain PFOA or PFOS.