HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has called on the military to fund blood tests for nearly 70,000 residents in suburban Philadelphia who might have been exposed to contaminated water.
The Democratic governor wrote a letter to the secretaries of the Navy and Air Force on Thursday issuing the request to fund tests for residents in Warminster, Warrington and Horsham.
"We believe blood testing is critical to addressing the concerns of the private citizens who may have been exposed," Wolf said in the letter.
Lawmakers have called on the federal government to do more to address concerns over contamination of local water supplies with unregulated chemicals. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) were widely used for decades at three area military bases. The compounds are found in the firefighting foams that have been used on military bases throughout the country, as well as in household items including food packaging.
The state Department of Health issued a "very conservative" estimate that testing could cost $7 million.
An Environmental Protection Agency testing program first found the chemicals in public drinking water supplies two years ago near the former Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Horsham and former Naval Air Warfare Center in Warminster and the active Horsham Air Guard Station.
More than a dozen public wells and 140 private wells in the area have been taken offline because of contamination. The Navy and National Guard Bureau have taken responsibility for the contamination and agreed to pay about $19 million to provide replacement water and install filtration systems.