Read the full article by Jon Hurdle

“Contamination by toxic PFAS chemicals in ground water at Dover Air Force Base was dramatically higher than federal health limits recommended this year, according to a new analysis from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The nonprofit compared previously reported testing by the Department of Defense with new proposals on PFAS limits by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and found contamination by two of the chemicals – PFOA and PFOS – on the base was as high as 2.8 million parts per trillion (ppt), or 254,000 times what the agency deems safe to protect public health.

The results, based on testing in 2016, gave DAFB the fourth-highest level of the two chemicals among 131 U.S. military bases covered by the analysis.

Recognizing that the contamination in water sources can spread to surrounding areas outside military bases, the study noted that there are some 42,000 people who live within three miles of the Dover base.

The UCS study also covered the New Castle Air National Guard Base near Wilmington, where the two chemicals were found at up to 758 times the ATSDR limit. And at the Marine Corps Reserve Training Center, also at Wilmington, the contamination was 176 times greater than the agency recommended…

Military bases such as DAFB are hotspots for PFAS contamination because they have used firefighting foam containing the chemicals for years. The chemicals have washed into ground water, and have affected public water systems and private wells in some places…

In 2016, the EPA set a non-enforceable health advisory limit of 70 ppt for the two chemicals, but campaigners say that’s far too high to protect public health, so they welcomed the June release of the ATSDR report which proposed limits that were seven to 10 times stricter than the EPA’s…

Captain Ashleigh Peck, a spokeswoman for the base, said only one ground water sample was found with a PFOS/PFOA concentration of 2.8 million parts per trillion, and that 290,000 ppt was ‘more consistent’ with other sample collected in the area.

The lower level of 290,000 ppt is some 26,000 times higher than the 11 ppt recommended by ATSDR.

The base converted to a different type of fire fighting foam in its emergency-response vehicles and fire suppression systems in two hangars between 2016 and 2018, she said. The new foam is PFOS free and contains only trace amounts of PFOA.”