Read the full article by Pat Elder (LA Progressive)

“Throughout much of Europe, NATO military bases have used and carelessly discarded hundreds of thousands of gallons of toxic fire-fighting foams containing a variety of PFAS chemicals during routine fire-fighting exercises. The aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) have been in use since the early 1970’s and have been allowed to seep into the ground to contaminate groundwater, soil, and surface water.  The resulting pollution is responsible for a serious European public health crisis, although few are paying attention.

A German Brown Trout caught in Spanger Bach Creek, near Spangdahlem NATO Airbase, was found to contain 82 ug/kg (micrograms per kilo of fillet) of per – and poly fluoroalkyl substances, or PFOS.  That news was published in 2015 and it barely attracted attention.  

82 ug/kg is the same as 82,000 parts per trillion, (ppt). Public health scientists around the world have been warning people not to consume more than 1 ppt  of the toxins daily.

NATO’s Spangdahlem Airbase

Spanger Bach, on the west side of the runway, drains contaminants from Spangdahlem NATO Air Base

Germany has no maximum contaminant levels for PFOS in food. However, in December, 2018, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recommended limiting the weekly consumption of PFOS to 0.013 micrograms of PFOS per kilogram of body weight. This means an adult weighing 60 kg (132 pounds) may ingest 0.78 micrograms of PFOS per week. If an individual consumed a relatively small .25 kg portion of the fish from the Kyll River caught below the Spangdahlem NATO Base which contained 200 ug/kg – she would be 64 times above the EFSA recommendation for the week.

The European Commission has proposed a drinking water standard of 100 parts per trillion (ppt) for 20 PFAS compounds. By comparison, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has only issued a voluntary, unenforceable health advisory of 70 ppt for two individual PFAS – perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).  In the absence of US governmental regulation, several U.S. states have implemented drinking water standards under 20 ppt for the chemical.  

To be clear, scientists with Harvard University’s School of Public Health say we ought to limit our consumption of PFAS chemicals to 1 part per trillion per day, while the Europeans are moving toward imposing a mandatory limit of 100 ppt in drinking water. At the same time, fish caught near a NATO base with 82,000 ppt of the toxins may be consumed.

PFOS and PFOA, used in NATO’s firefighting foams are two of the deadliest varieties of PFAS chemicals, (per- and poly fluoroalkyl substances).  Exposure to the two chemicals has been linked to kidney and testicular cancer and severe thyroid problems, as well as decreased fertility and adverse fetal development.  They are associated with elevated cholesterol and obesity in adults and decreased immune response in children.  The toxins are associated with childhood autism and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder which are becoming more prevalent in German children.

Of the two, PFOS tends to inflict more harm on human health. PFOA and PFOS, found in NATO’s firefighting foams, never break down, but PFOS is extraordinarily bio accumulative in fish. PFOS levels in fish may be a thousand times higher than levels in streams and rivers, especially those downstream of NATO bases. 

Virtually all Germans now carry the toxins in their blood and all German babies are born with the chemicals in their bodies.  A study of 1,109 German children  found that they all had PFOS toxins in their blood…”