List of Military Installations Dealing With PFAS Chemical Contamination Expected to Grow

September 17, 2019 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – The number of U.S. military installations contaminated with potentially cancer-causing chemical compounds found in firefighting foam is expected to rise as a Defense Department task force continues to assess the problem, the Pentagon said last week.

During a roundtable with reporters, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment Bob McMahon said he expects the number of bases identified as contaminated will grow “as we begin to get a better understanding and better characterization of where we are.”

The problem stems from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS chemicals, which are found in a number of industrial and household products, including firefighting foam.

A number of studies have linked PFAS chemicals to birth defects, infertility, developmental delays and some cancers.

The Defense Department began widespread testing for contamination in drinking water at its facilities in 2016, followed by testing of groundwater on and near military installations.

Last year, it announced that of 524 installations examined, 401 have some level of contamination. Twenty-four of those had drinking water contamination at levels higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s lifetime health advisory of 70 parts per trillion.

In July, Defense Secretary Mark Esper directed the Pentagon to establish a task force to study the chemicals and the potential impact they have on military personnel and the communities surrounding domestic military facilities.

Then, on Sept. 13, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group released a study suggesting as many as 90 additional current and former Army and Army National Guard installations had higher levels of ground or drinking water contamination than previously indicated.

The Defense Department task force will look at the health effects of contamination, science-supported standards for exposure and cleanup, and how best to coordinate inter-agency collaboration to address issues found.

McMahon said to date the task force has generated 40 recommendations and goals, from short-term fixes to long-term solutions to address PFAS-related issues.

He also said no military personnel or family members whose drinking water comes from Defense Department-managed water sources are consuming levels of PFAS higher than the lifetime health advisory limit.

The focus on PFAS chemicals comes as House and Senate negotiators work to hammer out a final deal on the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act — the defense spending bill.

Both the House and Senate versions of the bill include provisions to restrict PFAS discharges into water and end the military’s use of PFAS in firefighting foam and food packaging.

On Monday, the Environmental Working Group published an editorial on its website, telling supporters it is especially important that the NDAA would designate PFAS as “hazardous substances.”

“This would trigger a higher level of reporting requirements, kick-start the cleanup process and mandate that the polluting companies – not taxpayers – pay for the cleanup, instead of pointing fingers at each other and avoiding responsibility,” the editorial says.

Military

Bill Authorizing President to Posthumously Award Medal of Honor Proposed
Military
Bill Authorizing President to Posthumously Award Medal of Honor Proposed
September 17, 2020
by Reece Nations

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation that would authorize the president to posthumously award U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe the Medal of Honor. Cashe was injured in October 2005 while deployed in Iraq when the Bradley Fighting Vehicle he was in... Read More

Russian Navy Conducts Major Maneuvers Near Alaska
Geopolitics
Russian Navy Conducts Major Maneuvers Near Alaska

MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian navy conducted major war games near Alaska involving dozens of ships and aircraft, the military said Friday, the biggest such drills in the area since Soviet times. Russia's navy chief, Adm. Nikolai Yevmenov, said that more than 50 warships and about... Read More

Appeals Court Rules That Only Men Can Be Drafted by U.S. Military
Military
Appeals Court Rules That Only Men Can Be Drafted by U.S. Military
August 17, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

Only men can be drafted into the U.S. military, a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled last week. The ruling was based on a lawsuit filed by the advocacy group National Coalition for Men and two men who alleged sex discrimination. They argued that a... Read More

From Defeat to a First-Ever Bill: How Veterans Are Fighting Back on Toxic Exposure
Veterans
From Defeat to a First-Ever Bill: How Veterans Are Fighting Back on Toxic Exposure

WASHINGTON — When Rosie Torres first knocked on Congress’ doors almost a decade ago, asking for help for her husband and other veterans who became sick following exposure to military burn pits, she gained little traction. What she heard: More research was needed to determine if... Read More

Members Request Investigation of Multibillion Dollar Pentagon Contract
Congress
Members Request Investigation of Multibillion Dollar Pentagon Contract
August 5, 2020
by Reece Nations

WASHINGTON – Two members of Congress have penned letters requesting a probe into the Pentagon’s decision to grant a multibillion dollar moving contract to American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier Group Inc. The three-year, $7.2 billion contract would privately outsource the management of service members’ household goods, according... Read More

Armed Services Panel Cancels Hearing for Controversial Pentagon Nominee
U.S. Senate
Armed Services Panel Cancels Hearing for Controversial Pentagon Nominee

WASHINGTON — The Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday canceled at the last minute the nomination hearing for Anthony J. Tata, President Donald Trump’s controversial pick to be the Pentagon’s policy chief. Tata, a retired Army brigadier general and regular contributor to Fox News, once called... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top