News Feature | September 14, 2017

Bipartisan Lawmakers Pressure Trump To Address PFCs

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

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Members of Congress are pushing President Trump to speed up the military’s investigation into perfluorinated-compound (PFC) contamination of drinking water.

“Fourteen members of Congress representing seven states are calling on President Donald Trump's administration to hasten the Department of Defense’s [DOD’s] investigation of drinking water contamination across the country. Their call came in a letter to Trump that was signed by eight Democratic members and six Republicans,” The Intelligencer reported.

The letter states: “It is critical that DOD take immediate action to prevent further exposure. Despite the dangers PFCs present, DOD has been slow to provide safe drinking water to those areas with contaminated water.”

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of lawmakers from Pennsylvania recently joined forces to push the Pentagon to be more accountable on this issue.

Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-PA, Pat Meehan, R-PA, and Brendan Boyle, D-PA, told the DOD in a letter issued in August that it must do more to address PFCs in drinking water systems, The Intelligencer reported. Pollution originating from military bases has dogged water systems in the Philadelphia suburbs.

“The trio sent a new letter to the DOD, questioning why the military continued to use the foams after learning they were dangerous rather than switching to another foam,” the report said.

Per the report:

The congressmen questioned why the foam products were allowed on the military’s qualified products list if the military knew they were hazardous in 2001. The congressmen quoted from the military’s current product specifications, which states that foam products “shall have no adverse effect on the health of personnel when used for its intended purpose.”

The congressmen argued that “even in 2001,” the DOD wasn't following its own specifications because the department knew PFOS and sister chemical PFOA “indeed caused adverse effects on the health of personnel.”

The U.S. EPA issued a health advisory last year on exposure to PFCs as various towns wage high-profile battles against the pollutants. PFCs are industrial contaminants and research has tied them to cancer.

“The 70 ppt level recommended by the EPA [last year] was a dramatic decrease over the agency’s prior, short-term recommended limit of 400 ppt,” The Intelligencer reported.

Image credit: "Donald Trump," Gage Skidmore © 2014, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/