Read the full article by Meghann Myers (Marine Corps Times)
“There are nearly 700 military installations with either confirmed or suspected ground water contamination caused by fire-fighting foam using in vehicle and aircraft mishaps, according to new data released Thursday by the Environmental Working Group.
Cancer-linked per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, collectively known as PFAS, have been confirmed at 328 sites, according to Pentagon data analyzed by EWG. and are suspected on about 350 more Defense Department installations and sites.
‘DoD officials have understood the risks of AFFF since at least the early 1970′s, when the Navy and Air Force did their own studies on the toxicity of PFAS in fish, and the early 1980s when the Air Force conducted its own animal studies,’ Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs, told reporters in a phone conference on Thursday.
On 14 installations, Faber added, PFAS levels measured 1 million parts-per-trillion in the ground water, while the Environmental Protection Agency sets 70 parts-per-trillion as the maximum safe level.
Some places topped even that number. Naval Weapons Station China Lake, California, reported 8 million parts-per-trillion in its ground water, per a 2017 test. Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, reported 1.06 million parts-per-trillion.
Though bases have put in place filtration systems to protect drinking water on bases, they do not eliminate exposure.
‘Unfortunately DoD hasn’t moved as quickly as Congress would have liked,’ Faber said, both when comes to transitioning away from AFFF, as well as cleaning up pollution on and near bases.
Fire-fighting foam is no longer used in training, which has vastly reduced the frequency of contamination on and near bases. But perfluorooctanesulfonic and perfluorooctanoic acids do not break down in the body, meaning that a lifetime drinking water on military installations ― or living near one ― results in irreversible build-up of the chemicals.
Congress has gotten involved in recent years, including in the latest National Defense Authorization Act, requiring the Pentagon to find a replacement for AFFF by 2024, and giving hundreds of billions to support clean-up efforts…”