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Congressman Dan Kildee Calls on Trump Administration to Immediately Release Chemical Pollution Study

May 14, 2018
Press Release

Trump Administration Blocks Release of Study on Nationwide Water Contamination Crisis Affecting Oscoda and Other Communities, Report Says

Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) today called on the Trump Administration to immediately release a study on a nationwide water contamination crisis affecting Oscoda and other communities across the country.

After media reports that the Trump Administration intervened to block the publication of the health study fearing a “public relations nightmare,” Congressman Kildee wrote to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar demanding the study’s immediate release. The study, conducted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), is said to show that perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) are dangerous chemicals that endanger human health at far lower levels than the EPA previously acknowledged.

PFOA and PFOS have been found in Congressman Kildee’s district, including in groundwater around Oscoda and former Wurtsmith Air Force Base.

“The top priority of both HHS and the EPA should be protecting public health. I call on the Trump Administration to publicly release this PFOA and PFOS report so that the public has the most up-to-date information available on these dangerous chemicals,” Congressman Kildee’s letter reads in part.

Congressman Kildee has repeatedly pushed the Trump Administration to address PFOA and PFOS contamination across the country. Congressman Kildee, along with Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, worked to include language authorizing a health study in the National Defense Authorization Act, which became law in December 2017. In March 2018, the three lawmakers successfully included funding to address ongoing drinking water contamination issues in the Fiscal Year 2018 budget bill.

In December 2017, Congressman Kildee sent a letter to EPA Administrator Pruitt urging the EPA to more urgently address chemical contamination around the country.

Below is the full text of Congressman Kildee’s letter:

Secretary Azar and Administrator Pruitt:

I write to request that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) immediately release the preliminary toxicological assessment on perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), as prepared by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

Today it was reported that your departments intervened to block the publication of a federal health study on a nationwide water contamination crisis. According to media reports, the ATSDR assessment shows that PFOA and PFOS are dangerous chemicals that endanger human health at far lower levels than the EPA previously acknowledged. Instead of worrying about public health, it was reported that Trump Administration officials worried about a “public relations nightmare” if the report became public, and actively worked to prevent its publication. Months have gone by and the study remains unpublished.

Americans deserve to have the most up-to-date information regarding these chemicals that are increasingly affecting many people’s lives. Residents in my district have been negatively impacted by PFOA and PFOS chemical contamination in drinking water and groundwater around military bases, including former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda, Mich. PFOA and PFOS are known to cause harmful health issues like cancer, as well as thyroid, kidney, liver, heart and reproductive problems.

The top priority of both HHS and the EPA should be protecting public health. I call on the Trump Administration to immediately release this PFOA and PFOS report so that the public has the most up-to-date information available on these dangerous chemicals, and so the EPA can move forward to create enforceable drinking water standards regarding these chemicals.

Sincerely,

Daniel T. Kildee