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“PORTSMOUTH — U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen introduced legislation to provide for annual blood tests for service members and former service members, who served at military bases contaminated by dangerous PFAS chemicals.

The former Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth and Newington is one of more than 600 military installations in the United States that have been contaminated by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The chemicals are more commonly known as forever chemicals.

Shaheen’s legislation, the PFAS Exposure Assessment and Documentation Act, would provide for current and former service members to get their blood tested for PFAS chemicals during their annual periodic health assessment (PHA).

The legislation would also allow for dependents of a service member who is or was stationed at an installation affected by PFAS contamination to get a PFAS blood test covered under TRICARE – the military health insurance plan.

PFAS chemicals, like perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), have emerged as widespread contaminants in the drinking water sources of military bases across the country and are tied to serious illness and health effects.

‘The well-being of our service members is paramount, and as they’re occupationally more likely to be exposed to these harmful chemicals, every effort should be made to track and safeguard their health,’ Shaheen said Tuesday. ‘Providing service members with access to blood tests will also help inform policies to assist those who’ve been impacted by contamination. As the health effects of PFAS chemicals are studied, it’s critical that we do our due diligence to provide the information that service members and their families need to be fully informed about their exposure and health.

‘Military families sacrifice a great deal for our country so we owe them the best care available and full scope of resources they need to understand and protect their health’…”