Read the full article by John Hurdle

“Water sources at New Jersey’s Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst contained levels of toxic PFAS chemicals that were up to 24,000 times higher than a health limit recommended by a federal agency this year, according to a new national analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The nonprofit compared the results of Defense Department testing with the limits proposed by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and found that the presence of some PFAS (perfluoroalkyl sulfonate) chemicals exceeded the agency’s proposed levels at the base by even more than they did when compared with looser standards advocated by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Previously reported DOD testing in 2016 found two of the chemicals, PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid), as high as 264,300 parts per trillion (ppt) among many sites tested in and around the sprawling South Jersey military base. That was 24,027 times higher than the 11 ppt recommended by the ATSDR as the upper limit for safe human consumption, the Union of Concerned Scientists said.

It also sharply exceeded an EPA health guideline of 70 ppt for the two chemicals combined…

Using DOD data, the analysis also noted that 27,879 people live within three miles of the base, potentially exposing them to hazardous levels of the chemicals that are linked to illnesses including kidney and testicular cancers, ulcerative colitis, and thyroid disease. The study covered 131 bases nationwide, and found the highest PFAS concentrations, at up to 1 million times the ATSDR level, at bases in Louisiana, California, Florida, and Delaware.

In New Jersey, the DOD found three private wells near the McGuire base contained the two chemicals at a level that exceeded the EPA’s recommendation. It provided homeowners there with bottled water until filtration systems were installed.

The report also compared PFOS and PFOA contamination at the former Naval Air Warfare Center in Trenton, and found it was 2,527 times above the ATSDR’s safe health level…

Advocates for stricter health limits on the chemicals say the EPA’s levels are too high to protect public health.

In the absence of federal leadership on the issue, some states, including New Jersey, have started to regulate the chemicals at much lower limits than the EPA’s. New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection is implementing its first PFAS regulation — on the chemical PFNA — and considering recommendations for tough new limits on two other PFAS chemicals.

When the PFNA (perfluorononanoic acid) regulation becomes effective, military bases will have to comply with the state’s new limit, said Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the DEP.”