Shea-Porter's Legislation to Fund a Nationwide Health Study on Water Contaminants Included in Annual Defense Bill
(Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) issued the following statement after the release of the final Senate- and House-negotiated defense authorization bill, which includes her bipartisan amendment that directs the Department of Defense to fund a nationwide health study on implications of perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), such as PFOA, in drinking water. In May, the Air Force announced it would not fund a health study of water contamination around Haven Well at the former Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth. The city of Portsmouth closed the well in 2014 after PFC contamination levels were found to be 12.5 times higher than what was then the provisional health advisory from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The amendment establishes the first-ever nationwide study on the human health effects of those exposed to PFCs in their drinking water. Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) led efforts in the House of Representatives to include the health study in the defense bill. This final version of the defense bill will soon be voted on in both the House and the Senate.
“Community members who live near contaminated sites deserve answers about how they and their children may be affected by PFCs, and guidance on what steps they can and should take to protect their health,” said Shea-Porter. “This study is a major step towards getting our community members the answers they deserve, and I’m pleased we were able to secure it in today’s final defense bill.”
“I’ve spoken with Granite State families and communities who have been fighting tirelessly for answers about the risks from exposure to perfluorinated chemicals in their drinking water. They deserve answers, and I’m relieved that my bipartisan amendment in the final defense bill will help deliver them,” said Shaheen. “We must ensure that we can provide families with definitive information on the impact of drinking water on their health. Going forward, I’ll work to ensure that this national study pays particular attention to the health impacts on Seacoast residents so we can give peace of mind to New Hampshire families who have been affected by these contaminants.”
Earlier this year, Senator Shaheen joined with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to introduce the bipartisan Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act, which addresses barriers that limit the EPA response to emerging contaminants. Additionally, as the lead Democrat on the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Shaheen included a provision in the subcommittee’s annual appropriations bill to identify research gaps in addressing the potential health implications associated with exposure to emerging contaminants. The House unanimously adopted an amendment written by Congresswoman Shea-Porter appropriating $7 million to launch the national health impact study authorized in the House and Senate-passed defense bills.