Turner urges EPA administrator to release chemical pollution study


A Dayton congressman has urged the U.S. EPA’s top administrator to publicly release a toxicology study that could recommend lower threshold advisories for exposure to chemicals found in groundwater at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and at military installations across the country.

Politico reported Monday the White House and the EPA sought to block the public release of the Health and Human Service’s chemical pollution study because it would cause “a public relations nightmare,” the news outlet said, citing newly discovered emails.

RELATED: Dayton faces two potential groundwater threats

Politico also reported the study would show the chemicals might endanger human health at levels below than what the EPA had determined was safe.

“This is not an issue of public relations — this is an issue of public health and safety,” Turner said Tuesday in a statement and who noted he asked the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission to assess the potential threat to drinking water. “This report needs to be released so the commission can have the correct information when providing our community its recommendations.”

Chemical substances known as perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA have been found in the groundwater at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and near a Dayton firefighting training site on McFadden Avenue, authorities have said. Concerned a contamination plume may migrate off base or its firefighter training site, the city of Dayton has closed several production wells for drinking water along the Mad River as a precaution. But state and city officials say the substance has not been found in water distributed to consumers.

Wright-Patterson built a $2.7 million groundwater treatment plant to reopen two drinking production wells that had been closed.

RELATED: Dayton demands Wright-Patt act on groundwater concerns

The substance was used in an old formula of a firefighting foam sprayed extensively at fire fighting training and crash sites.

The EPA has cited a health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion.

In the May 15 letter to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, Turner wrote: “If this study finds, as reported, that this is no longer an accurate level of safety for our drinking water, Congress and our constituents need to know immediately so we can begin to address it. Congress has already acted to end the use of these chemicals on military bases, but at least 126 military installations have reported having PFOS and PFOA in their drinking water. This is a matter of public health and safety for each of these communities.”

Ryan Jackson, the EPA chief of staff, said in a statement the agency is holding a summit next week in Washington “to help contribute to a federal government wide approach to address PFAS issues which have been raised by local, state, and congressional leaders.”

“EPA is eager to participate in and contribute to a coordinated approach so each federal stakeholder” such as the EPA, Pentagon and HHS “is fully informed on what the other stakeholders concerns, roles, and expertise can contribute and to ensure that the federal government is responding in a uniform way to our local, state, and congressional constituents and partners.”

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