Water Contamination in Our Homes

Clean Up Our Water

In 2014, approximately 70,000 people were affected in Bucks and Montgomery counties where perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) were found at nationally high levels in the drinking water. PFOA and PFOS, types of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs), permeate through the soil and end up in ground water. Increased health risks include: several types of tumors, neonatal death, and potential toxic effects on the immune system, liver, and endocrine systems. These substances are regulated in drinking water at an EPA standard of 70 parts per trillion (PPT). NJ has recommended standards of 14 PPT for PFOA and 13 PPT for PFOS, which are currently going through the regulatory rulemaking process and would be enforceable once finalized.

PFAS above 17 but below where 70 detected by Aqua in the spring/summer of 2018 in the North Hills Well and Aidenn Lair, which Aqua took offline in July 2018. Locations of concern are areas of Abington, Cheltenham, and Springfield Townships. NASJRB Willow Grove bases in Horsham may be a source of PFAS water contamination.

My legislation is companion legislation to Representative Murt’s HB 705 that lowers the acceptable levels of PFOA and PFOS in our drinking water in the Commonwealth of PA to 5 PPT each. This action will provide a higher level of protection for our constituents and will enhance public health and safety across the Commonwealth.

Governor Wolf signs Executive Order establishing a multi-agency PFAS Action Team

Haywood In Action

Proposed Legislation

My proposed legislation is companion legislation to Representative Murt’s HB 705 that lowers the acceptable levels of PFOA and PFOS in our drinking water in the Commonwealth of PA to 5 parts per trillion (ppt).

Letter Demanding Action

In my letter to the EPA & Phyllis Bayer, Assistant Secretary of the Navy
(Energy, Installations and Environment), I have demanded they stop the release of PFOAs & PFOS’ and PFAS’.

What You Can Do

Reach Out

Contact Phyllis Bayer, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations and Environment) at 703-693-4530 and voice your concerns about water contamination

Stay Informed

Attend the NASJRB Willow Grove Restoration Advisory Board meeting on September 12, 6-7:30 p.m. at the Horsham Township Library, 435 Babylon Road, Horsham, PA 19044 and voice your concern.

Do Your Research

Visit Aqua’s website at http://www.waterfacts.com/ for more information

Proposed Legislation

My proposed legislation is companion legislation to Representative Murt’s HB 705 that lowers the acceptable levels of PFOA and PFOS in our drinking water in the Commonwealth of PA to 5 parts per trillion (ppt). This action will provide a higher level of protection for our constituents and will enhance public health and safety across the Commonwealth.

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), through legislation, has the authority in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to set many environmental standards. One such area of responsibility is the establishment of the acceptable standards of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in our drinking water.

At present, the standard (or highest levels) of PFOA and PFOS allowable in Commonwealth drinking water is set at 70 ppt, in line with the EPA’s recently established health advisory level. Many new questions have arisen as to what an acceptable benchmark of PFOA and PFOS should be. Our neighbor, New Jersey, has a standard of 40 ppt, while Vermont has a standard of 10 ppt. These standards may be set by the legislature.

Measurements of PFOA and PFOS have spiked in Eastern Montgomery County where contamination of public and private wells has occurred. This contamination is a result of PFOA and PFOS chemicals which were used by U.S. Navy personnel at the Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove. These chemicals are found in the fire suppression foam which was used by firefighters at the base in training or in extinguishing fires. These chemicals have now leaked into local water supplies causing great alarm to local residents. There are legitimate and reasonable concerns regarding this contamination as well as what the acceptable levels of PFOA and PFOS should be.

A great deal of research exists which suggests that higher levels of PFOA and PFOS contamination can have negative consequences upon public health and safety. According to an assessment by the Environmental Directorate of the Organization of Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) “PFOS is persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic to mammalian species” and it’s half-life in humans is years. In June 2015 researchers Philippe Grandjean of the Harvard School of Public Health, and Richard Clapp of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, concluded that a safe level of PFOA in drinking water would be approximately 1 ppt. The evidence indicates that PFOS and PFOA are carcinogens and immunotoxins. Existing standards are based largely on outdated research and an assumption of short-term exposure. State-of-the-art technology in the form of in-plant filtration and the use of carbon filters on wells can achieve the goal of lowering the levels of PFOS and PFOS, and other chemicals, in the short-term. It is clearly time to lower the acceptable standard of PFOA and PFOS levels in drinking water in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Letter Demanding Action

This is the letter I have sent to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Navy requesting they stop releasing PFOAs. 

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Senator Haywood Presents $3.9 Million Check to Aqua Pennsylvania for Clean Water

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are PFOAs & PFOs?

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic (PFOS) acid are part of a group of chemicals commonly referred to as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) or perfluorinated compounds (PFCs). PFOA and PFOS are man-made chemicals that up until 2000 had been widely used in the manufacturing of many industrial and consumer products such as paper and cardboard food packaging, insecticides, electronics, stain repellants, paints, plumbing tape, firefighting foam and non-stick cooking surfaces.

Between 2000 and 2002, PFOS was voluntarily phased out of production in the U.S. by its primary manufacturer. In 2006, eight major companies voluntarily agreed to phase out their global production of PFOA and PFOA-related chemicals.

Prior to phasing PFOA and PFOS out of production, large quantities were released into the environment during the manufacturing processes and have been found to have contaminated the drinking water supplies near current or former manufacturing locations.

Potential Health Effects from PFOA and PFOS

Exposure to unsafe levels of PFOA/PFOS concentrations through drinking water may result in health effects including developmental effects to fetuses during pregnancy, cancer, liver effects, immune effects and thyroid effects.1

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a lifetime of exposure health advisory at 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for both PFOA and PFOS in drinking water. This EPA health advisory level was established to provide a margin of protection to all Americans as well as those who are immuno-compromised or in special populations (elderly, children).

What to Do If There Is a PFOA/PFOS Water Advisory

Follow the advice of your municipal water authority regarding using water for drinking, cooking, bathing, dish washing, providing to pets or filtering during the advisory.

How to Reduce PFOA/PFOS in Drinking Water

NSF International scientists and public health experts have been testing and certifying products for more than 70 years. We developed the protocol NSF P473 to evaluate drinking water treatment devices, using science-based test methods, on their ability to reduce PFOA and PFOS in drinking water. To earn NSF International certification to NSF P473, water treatment systems, including water filters, must undergo extensive testing which includes meeting strict material safety and structural requirements as defined in NSF/ANSI 53, an American National Standard for drinking water treatment units – health effects. Reverse osmosis (RO) systems must also meet all of the requirements defined in NSF/ANSI 58, a standard for RO systems. In accordance with these standards, NSF International verifies that:

  • The contaminant reduction claims for PFOA and PFOS shown on the label are true.
  • The system does not add anything harmful to the water.
  • The system is structurally sound.
  • The product labeling, advertising and literature are not misleading.

To make a PFOA/PFOS reduction claim, a water filter must be able to reduce these chemicals to below the EPA healthy advisory limit of 70 parts per trillion. Certified products must be retested periodically and manufacturing facilities must be inspected every year, which ensures products continue to meet all requirements.