The Navy has rejected requests from area lawmakers to pay for the blood tests of thousands of residents who may have been exposed in recent years to contaminated water in Bucks and Montgomery counties.
Three military facilities in Horsham and Warminster are thought to be the source of potentially toxic chemicals seeping into residential water systems.
In two years, dozens of private and public wells have been shut down.
The military has agreed to pay at least $19 million to clean up the systems, but in a letter sent to U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania, the Navy said it will not fund requested blood testing of residents. After consulting with federal health agencies, the Navy officials concluded the blood tests wouldn’t be “clinically interpretable,” or useful, because they wouldn’t tell doctors much about how patients were exposed or what treatments they would need.
The chemicals, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), are also found in food, air and other products.
Casey called the Navy’s decision “unacceptable” and said the screenings are important “because otherwise, you have families that live with the uncertainty, and, in some cases, the real fear that comes with that uncertainty.”
Casey said he plans to push back but is still reviewing other options. Other lawmakers and lawyers are also looking into legislative and legal responses.