Woman attributes health issues to contaminated water

Valerie Higgins, 54, from Montgomery County thinks there may be something contaminating her water and contributing to her numerous health issues.

Higgins says she suffers from a type of arthritis that leaves her in near constant agony.

"It's extremely painful. It limits my life. I use a stair lift to go upstairs. I have an electric wheelchair. I have a scooter," said Higgins.

She says she's also had one-third of her stomach removed due to chronic ulcers and at 40-years-old was deemed fully disabled,

Now, she is limited to spend most of her time in her Horsham, Montgomery County home.

But even with all her health issues, Higgins thinks she know why she's suffering.

"I think it's related to the water," she says. "I have so many health conditions there has to be a reason for it."

Higgins believes the Willow Grove Air Base a few streets from her home is to blame.

It's believed chemicals used at Willow Grove and at the former Naval Air Warfare Center in Warminster have leached into the ground water tainting it and impacting the health of residents.

Officials say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are working through the Pennsylvania Department of Health and plan to test the blood of some 600 residents of the region. The residents have been randomly selected and must have their drawn blood at certain locations.

Higgins was not chosen so she will not be part of the study, but wishes she were.

"I would love to be tested. I understand it's random, but I think it should be open to people who just want the test," she said.

As far as sample sizes go, 600 people may be considered too small. However the Department of Health says this is a pilot program in order to learn more and help protect residents who may have been exposed.