Read the full article by Pat Elder (Military Poisons)

“In a surprising and welcome development, the Veterans Administration, (VA) has awarded Fort Ord veteran Mark Elude O’Bar a 100% disability compensation rating for colon cancer while citing links to PFAS found on the base.

The VA examiner wrote that the evidence shows O’Bar was diagnosed with colon cancer and that participation in a Toxic Exposure Risk Activity (TERA) is confirmed, based on his verified service in Fort Ord, CA. The VA cited the November 17, 2022 article in Military Poisons  –  ‘Concentrations of PFAS in groundwater at Fort Ord are more than 20,000 times over EPA limit.’

Julie Akey, who once lived at Fort Ord and is battling cancer, created a spreadsheet with demographic information and the diseases of 1,250 people who lived on base. (See it here.)  This is an amazing achievement, an historic moment.

Julie had been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. She set out to find others in her neighborhood and on the base who might be similarly afflicted. She found 138 people diagnosed with the deadly blood cancer.

She reacted to today’s news: ‘In the past the VA has consistently denied disability claims due to the contamination at Fort Ord. I’m thrilled that a few approvals are finally trickling in and I’m cautiously optimistic that many more will finally be approved, including my own.’

The VA’s approval for PFAS-related illness is good news for the many thousands of scattered and diseased Fort Ord veterans and their dependents. They all breathed the air and drank the water.

Many with cancers and deadly diseases caused by the Army at Fort Ord were deeply disappointed by a recent decision of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to severely limit its investigation of deadly and widespread contamination on the base.

The ATSDR refuses to examine the potential for deadly contamination after1994 when many who served at Fort Ord are known to have suffered and died from various cancers and diseases.

The ATSDR refuses to examine PFAS contamination at Fort Ord because it says PFAS were not sampled in drinking water during the arbitrary 1985 – 1994 timeframe it is focused on. The DOD has known of the adverse health affects of PFAS since the 1970’s.

Asked how the VA’s decision might affect the intransigent ATSDR, Julie Akey said she was was not confident this development would change anything.

It is noteworthy that the VA’s recent decision regarding Mr. O’Bar covers the period from July 12, 2023 because this is the same period when the Army published its most recent report showing frightening levels of PFAS in the groundwater at Fort Ord.

Let’s back up a moment.

The Military Poisons article referenced by the Veteran’s Administration in the O’Bar case cites:

Table 3. Summary of Groundwater Monitoring Analytical Results, March 7, 2019  of the Army’s Basewide Review on Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS).

PFOA was found in groundwater at 113 parts per trillion, (ppt) while PFOS was found at 447 ppt.  The tests were conducted in 2019.

New tests by the Army show extremely dangerous levels

In November 2022 new tests of the groundwater at 99.5 feet below the surface contained 19,000 ppt of PFOS, 1,340 ppt of PFOA, and 47,555 ppt of total PFAS.

19,000 ppt of PFOS is 950,000 times over the EPA’s Interim Lifetime Health Advisory of .02 ppt and the PFOA concentrations of 1,340 ppt are 335,000 times over the EPA’s threshold of .004 ppt.  Let that sink in.

See Table 7. Site 40A ‐ Site MW 40A-01-A Site Inspection  Narrative Report Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Former Fort Ord, California Prepared for: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, July 2023

The former Fire & Rescue Station is adjacent to Site 40A.  Review of historical aerial photos indicate this area may also have been used as a landfill, creating a deadly double punch at Fort Ord. Following is a chart describing PFAS compounds and their concentrations in the aquifer under Fort Ord, California.

We must keep in mind that the consumption of these chemicals is unsafe, especially for pregnant women and the developing fetus.

The EPA, which is great on the science but lousy on the enforcement end of things, has set advisories at a tiny fraction of one part per trillion for PFOS and PFOA. The EPA has also stated its intention to eventually regulate PFHxS, GenX chemicals, PFNA, and PFBS.

See the National Institute of Health’s PubChem for more on the human health effects of these chemicals.”…