“A gigantic federal budget bill passed by lawmakers this week includes nearly $100 million for activities related to PFAS chemicals, including $10 million for a nationwide health study.

This news organization has been tracking the potential funding for months, as Bucks and Montgomery County communities exposed to the chemicals through drinking water are being eyed for inclusion in the study. The lawmakers’ agreement on the $1.3 trillion spending measure brings the funding to the brink of realization. The bill cleared tense votes in the House and Senate this week and sits on President Donald Trump’s desk for approval, needing his signature by midnight Friday evening to avoid a government shutdown.

The $10 million figure for the health study, which was confirmed by the office of U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, is an increase from the $7 million previously proposed in appropriation bills. Casey spokeswoman Jacklin Rhoads said the bill also contains an additional $10 million for the Department of Defense to conduct health screenings related to drinking water contamination…

The budget bill also adds $43.8 million to the Air Force’s environmental restoration defense fund and $42.2 million to the Navy’s account to “address costs” related to PFAS contamination.

The subject of an ongoing series by this news organization, PFAS — also known as perfluorinated chemicals or PFCs — are chemicals found in firefighting foams used widely at military bases across the country. At a growing number of sites, military investigations are finding the chemicals in the environment and nearby drinking water supplies. In 2014, the chemicals were found in nationally high amounts in drinking water in Horsham, Warminster and Warrington, serving some 70,000 current residents and unknown populations of past residents and veterans…

Although PFOS and PFOA are the two most well-known of that chemical family, the bill states “multiple types” of the chemicals should be studied.

The study should take no longer than five years, with a possible two-year extension if the agencies justify a delay to Congress. To conduct the study, the health agencies should study ‘no less than eight current or former’ military bases known to have contamination issues.

Such studies must include ‘bio-monitoring,’ or blood testing, the report stated, with testing required to begin within 180 days of the bill’s enactment and conclude within two years. A report on blood testing would also need to be delivered to Congress within one year of conclusion, the bill states. That bill was signed Dec. 12, 2017.”

Read the full article by Kyle Bagenstose