New Study Offers Horsham-Area Residents Insight into Exposure to Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’

firefighing foam which once contained PFAS chemicals
Image via iStock.
PFAS chemicals used for fire suppression purposes decades ago in Horsham Township continue to be a concern.

A new study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is providing Montgomery County residents with more insight into their exposure to toxic PFAS chemicals, writes Zoë Read for WHYY.

The study started over a year ago across seven cities nationwide.

More than 1,000 people in the Philadelphia region have had their blood tested to help scientists better understand the health effects of the so-called “forever chemicals.”

The compounds were commonly used to manufacture products that included nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, and fire-suppression foam.

It is this latter use that is of significant concern to Horsham residents.

The Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove operated in Horsham Township (in various capacities) from 1926–2011. Fire-suppression foam was a common resource to douse petroleum-based fires onsite.

The product’s PFAS chemicals then seeped into groundwater pools from which residential well water was routinely sourced.

According to the CDC, PFAS exposure can lead to increased risks of high cholesterol and kidney and testicular cancer.

So far, 53 percent of study participants have received test results, including Jill Florin of Dresher, whose PFAS levels are considered “moderate.”

She did not, however, find the results helpful in detailing next steps.

“You have this piece of information, and what do you do with it?” she asked.

Read more about the study in WHYY.


This 2018 video, in which residents from Willow Grove are interviewed, provides more depth on the concern of PFAS chemicals in the local environment.

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