Military sees surge in sites with ‘forever chemical’ contamination

By Rebecca Beitsch | The Hill | March 16, 2020

Read the full article by Rebecca Beitsch (The Hill)

“The military now has at least 651 sites that have been contaminated with cancer-linked ‘forever chemicals,’ a more than 50 percent jump from its last tally.

The information was released Friday in a report from the Department of Defense (DOD), part of a task force designed to help the military remove a class of chemicals known as PFAS from the water supply near numerous military bases.

PFAS, used in a variety of household products as well as an ‘AFFF’ fire fighting foam relied on by the military, has been deemed a forever chemical due to its persistence in both the environment and the human body. The military has been under increasing pressure to clean up its contaminated sites, previously estimated to be at 401 locations. 

‘This report also makes it clear that we are still learning the full extent of the impact on our communities. The identification of over 250 new sites where PFAS was potentially released is astonishing,’ House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) said in a statement.

‘It is critical that the department provide communities with timely assessment of these sites, communicate transparently with impacted households, and quickly act to protect civilians and service members alike from these forever chemicals.’

Defense Secretary Mark Esper started the PFAS task force on his first day in office in July. 

‘We must approach the problem in an aggressive and holistic way, ensuring a coordinated DOD-wide approach to the issue,’ Esper wrote in a memo establishing the task force.

The 651 figure is current as of October and includes only sites where DOD is known to be the source of PFAS contamination…”

This content provided by the PFAS Project.