Report: Residents have higher levels of chemicals in blood from military bases

After decades of questions, one letter is helping provide some answers to hundreds of people in Bucks and Montgomery counties--their water tainted by chemicals on nearby military bases. Many have been wondering for years if that is the 'source' of their health problems. The State Department of Health just mailed out the results of recent blood tests.

Joe Pilla of Horsham, a retired mason, easily looks 10 years younger than his age of He's an active guy with an easy laugh. A decade ago, he learned he had bladder cancer. Aggressive treatment has forced it into remission. Two years ago, he learned his well was tainted with chemicals from the nearby Willow Grove Air Base and he wonders.

"I got a letter saying bladder cancer is not considered from the water," Pilla said. FOX 29's Jeff Cole asked, " You're not so sure of that?" He replied, "Who am I to say?"

Now, 235 residents of Horsham, Warminister and Warrington Township do know--according to a published report--they have higher levels of chemicals in their blood linked to firefighting foams used on the military bases.

The study was done by the Pa. Department of Health, which declined to provide FOX 29 with the results claiming it would release the information in December.

State Representative Todd Stephens, who represents some of the impacted communities, says it's time for the federal government to provide blood testing for all those exposed.

"This is about protecting us and our families. My constituents all deserve the same information what these 230 people are now going to receive that's what the federal government really needs to do--they need to step up," Representative Stephens said.

"I had a malignant mass on my kidney and had to take mine out that was 14 years ago." Andy Johnson drank the water for decades and his well is also tainted.

"I lost a kidney. The neighborhood behind me they have several cases of cancers. This came jump and I brought it to the township 20-25 years ago," Johnson said.

The Philadelphia Inquirer was the first to release of the letter and results.