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Maloney Bill to Require Study into Health Effects of PFOS/PFOA to be Signed into Law

Nov 17, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) announced that his legislation to require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct a comprehensive study into the long-term health effects of PFOS/PFOA exposure will be signed into law as part of the defense bill. The Investing in Testing Act, originally introduced in 2016, was included in the Conference Report for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed both the House and Senate, and will head to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law.

“We know folks in Newburgh have a higher PFOS level in their blood than the national average – we just don’t know what that means in terms of long-term health effects,” said Rep. Maloney. “But that’s going to change soon – my bill will get the CDC in the game to drill down on the science of this and figure out what to do next to help the people in Newburgh.”

In October of 2016, Rep. Maloney introduced the Investing in Testing Act to require the CDC to conduct a federal study into the long-term health effects of PFOS/PFOA exposure in response to water contamination concerns in Newburgh. He reintroduced the bill in the 115th Congress in February. Although the provision was not initially included in the NDAA, Rep. Maloney and his colleagues wrote a letter to the committee responsible for determining what would be in the final bill and requested that the legislation included a provision to require CDC testing. The NDAA passed the House of Representatives on November 14th and the Senate on November 16th. The legislation is expected to be signed into law by President Trump as early as next week.

Since abnormally and unacceptably high levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooc­tane sulfonate (PFOS) were found in Newburgh’s water supply, Rep. Maloney has worked with local, state and federal officials to call for an immediate investigation, hold those responsible accountable, ensure residents in Newburgh have a clean water source without placing the financial burden on the City, and work to determine the level of health risk for people with high PFOS content in their blood.

After the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) declared Stewart Air National Guard (ANG) base a state Superfund site, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18) called on the Department of Defense (DoD) to comply with the DEC’s request for a federal remediation program. Immediately after declaring Stewart ANG base an Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Site (Class 2), more commonly referred to as a state Superfund site, DEC sent a letter to DoD requesting that they enter into a legally binding agreement to carry out a remediation program with the state and bear some of the cost. Following this request, Rep. Maloney sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, requesting expeditious compliance with this request and “a commitment from the Department of Defense to develop, implement, and finance a Remedial Program for the contamination site.” In September 2016, Maloney and state officials announced the launch of the New York State Department of Health’s biomonitoring program for Newburgh. In addition to hundreds of Newburgh residents, Maloney received his results as part of the round of blood test results released last week.  

In May of 2016, Rep. Maloney called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to immediately set a clear national standard for acceptable levels of PFOA and PFOS in drinking water. Rep. Maloney also renewed calls for the EPA to provide immediate material assistance to the City of Newburgh to remediate the contamination. Rep. Maloney also called on the DoD to conduct an investigation into the likely source of the pollution – Stewart Air National Guard Base. In addition to calling for a review of the source of the contaminant, Rep. Maloney asked the DoD to ensure total remediation for the City of Newburgh. On June 8, after a strong push, Rep. Maloney announced that the DoD added Stewart ANG base to their review list and made the investigation into Newburgh water contamination a first priority. After initial reports of contamination in the City of Newburgh water, Rep. Maloney and Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand wrote a letter to the EPA calling for immediate assistance to determine the source of the contamination, test contaminant levels, and formulate a remediation plan.