WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan issued the following statement today after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a federal study on water contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The Trump Administration had previously concealed the study from the public in order to avoid, as one White House official put it, a “public relations nightmare.”
“It is well past time that the Trump Administration has heeded our bipartisan call to release this critical study about the health impacts of chemicals in drinking water,” Senator Hassan said. “No Granite Stater should have to question the safety of their drinking water, but when they are exposed to emerging contaminants in their water, they have a right to know about any potential health impacts. I continue to urge the Trump Administration to put the public health and safety of our people before its own political self-interests and work with us to get more answers about PFAS and to ensure that all Granite Staters and Americans have access to clean, safe drinking water.”
Senator Hassan previously called on the Trump Administration to stop blocking the release of the study and led the rest of the New Hampshire Congressional Delegation in calling on EPA Administrator Pruitt to immediately release the study. In order to address concerns around emerging contaminants in drinking water, Senator Hassan cosponsored legislation that requires the EPA to create federal safety guidelines for PFAS and to establish maximum contaminant levels for certain chemicals to help clarify the safety and quality of drinking water from public water systems throughout the country. The Senator also cosponsored the Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act, which creates an interagency task force to improve federal coordination on emerging contaminants and directs the Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a federal research strategy to improve identification, analysis, and treatment methods for contaminants. Senator Hassan also helped secure funding for the first nationwide PFAS water contamination study in the bipartisan omnibus funding bill that passed earlier this year, and joined the Congressional Delegation in sending a letter to ATSDR urging them to include Pease in the nationwide health study and exposure assessment.
As Governor of New Hampshire, Senator Hassan worked with state agencies, federal partners, and residents in the area to make blood tests available to everyone potentially exposed to PFAS at the former Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, as well as to raise awareness about the health risks of these emerging contaminants. Furthermore, Senator Hassan formed the Governor's Task Force on the Seacoast Cancer Cluster to help create an organized response to the health and environmental concerns that the Seacoast pediatric cancer cluster has raised.