Pa. Rep. Dean, others back bill to protect military kids from PFAS contaminants | Friday Morning Coffee

Photo via pxHere.com

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

A U.S. House lawmaker from suburban Philadelphia is teaming up with her fellow Democrats to protect children on military bases nationwide from the water contaminants known as PFAS chemicals.

Legislation sponsored by U.S. Reps. Madeleine Dean, of Montgomery County’s 4th District; Andy Kim, of New Jersey, and Xochitl Torres-Small, of New Mexico, would require the Pentagon to test kids living on bases across the nation to track their exposure to the toxic chemical compounds that have been linked to decreased fertility and immunity and an increased risk of cancer in humans.

The “chemicals have long been used in a range of consumer products, and the military continues to use aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) in firefighting training exercises,” Dean’s office said in a statement.

The chemicals have been detected at the former Willow Grove Naval Air Station, in Dean’s district. They’ve also been found at Fort Indiantown Gap, the Pennsylvania National Guard installation, in Lebanon County, near Harrisburg, according to StateImpact Pennsylvania.

In all, 33 states across the country have documented PFAS contamination near military sites, the Capital-Star’s Elizabeth Hardison reported earlier this year.

Members of Gov. Tom Wolf’s PFAS action team hear from the public in Abington, Montgomery County on Monday, April 15. Capital-Star photo by Elizabeth Hardison.

In a statement, Dean said “PFAS contamination touches nearly everyone in America, and none more than the children of servicemembers living on or near military bases.

“We know these chemicals are dangerous, and we must do everything we can to mitigate the health risks young people face. Our service-members enlist to protect us – and we must do the same for them and their children.”

The legislation, H.R. 4295, would, according to a summary released by Dean’s office:

  • “Provide blood testing services for children that currently live or have lived on military bases in the last ten years that have had exposure to PFAS.
  • “Carry out an outreach program at military installations eligible for the program.
  • “Provide Congress with a summary of the results of the program, including the scope of child exposure on military installations.”

The legislation has attracted the support of an advocacy group for military families known as the National Military Families Association, which called the bill “an important first step to determine the extent to which military children have been exposed to PFAS contamination on military installations.”

“Recent revelations about toxic exposures in military housing and on military installations demand a public health response,” the group’s deputy government affairs director, Karen Ruedisueli, said in a statement.

Kim, whose district includes Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, said Congress “[needs] to determine the true scope of the problem. These testing programs will do just that and work to keep our children and communities safe.”

Separately, U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-1st District, and Brendan Boyle, D-2nd District, along with U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., have introduced a bill requiring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to set a nationwide, enforceable standard for PFAS contaminants.

Right now, the federal government doesn’t currently have legally enforceable regulations for PFAS chemicals in drinking water, Hardison reported earlier this year.

“It is past time we address these contaminants with the seriousness they merit,” Boyle said in a statement earlier this year. “Public health is at stake while the EPA continues to dither and delay setting enforceable limits on these chemicals. This is unacceptable … No American should question the safety of their drinking water — period.”

WikiMedia Commons

Our Stuff.
Stephen Caruso
 has the details on a 7-0 Commonwealth Court decision allowing a gun rights group and its members to challenge local gun ordinances in court.

Capital-Star Washington Bureau Chief Robin Bravender has everything you need to know about Thursday’s U.S. House Judiciary Committee vote advancing an impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump.

In the first of two stories on our site, our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune report on the arrest of a former Philadelphia fraud investigator who’s been indicted for .. what else .. taking bribes. And a Democratic City Councilman wants the city to dig into its own surplus to find $10M to help pay for lead and asbestos remediation in the Philly schools.

Ahead of Thursday’s Democratic prezzy debate, former Gov. Ed Rendell, who’s no slouch at fundraising, penned a Washington Post op-Ed accusing Sen. Elizabeth Warren of ‘hypocrisy’ in her stance on campaign funding. Rendell, btw, is backing ex-Veep Joe Biden.

On our Commentary PageAndy Hoover, of the PA-ACLU, writing in reference to the looming closing of a state prison in Luzerne County, says it’s a bad idea for communities to lean on incarceration as an economic development strategy. Opinion regular Bruce Ledewitz argues the case that white nationalism is both un-American and irreligious.

The Pennsylvania House chamber. Image via Flickr Commons

Elsewhere.
Pa. lawmakers are among the best paid in the nation, but they’re doing less actual lawmakingSpotlight PA reports.
The cash-strapped Harrisburg schools might have to eliminate some jobs as the district seeks to balance its booksPennLive reports.
An Allentown program aimed at reducing gun violence has ‘gotten a boost from the state,’ the Morning Call reports.
The Post-Gazette has the details on an art project that’s ‘bringing the light’ back to Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

The Justice Department will fight the sale of Hahnemann Hospital’s residency program, WHYY-FM reports.
The Wolf administration and legislative Republicans have renewed their squabbling over Medicaid work requirements, WITF-FM reports.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will headline a Pa Dems event on Nov. 1 in Philadelphia, PoliticsPA reports.
A Republican group is defending an ad that showed a burning image of AOC that aired during Thursday’s Dem debate, Roll Call reports.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
Helping you plan your weekend, Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski holds an 11 a.m. reception on Sunday morning at Genetti’s Hotel in Wilkes-Barre. Admission runs $35 to $500.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept. 
Best wishes go out this morning to WITF-FM reporter Brett Sholtis, who celebrates today. Congrats and enjoy the day, sir.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s a very chill jam for your Friday morning: It’s Bonobo and ‘Linked,’ which is kind of perfect, in its own way, for a newsletter filled with the same.

Friday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link.
The Guardian 
has 10 things to look for during this weekend’s round of Premier League action.

And now you’re up to date. 

An award-winning political journalist with more than 25 years' experience in the news business, John L. Micek is The Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. Before joining The Capital-Star, Micek spent six years as Opinion Editor at PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa., where he helped shape and lead a multiple-award-winning Opinion section for one of Pennsylvania's most-visited news websites. Prior to that, he spent 13 years covering Pennsylvania government and politics for The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa. His career has also included stints covering Congress, Chicago City Hall and more municipal meetings than he could ever count, Micek contributes regular analysis and commentary to a host of broadcast outlets, including CTV-News in Canada and talkRadio in London, U.K., as well as "Face the State" on CBS-21 in Harrisburg, Pa.; "Pennsylvania Newsmakers" on WGAL-8 in Lancaster, Pa., and the Pennsylvania Cable Network. His weekly column on American politics is syndicated nationwide to more than 800 newspapers by Cagle Syndicate.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here