Proposed Bill Would Require Military Bases to Report PFAS Water Contamination

Taking a significant step towards addressing PFAS water contamination in cities and communities nationwide, the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee has proposed new legislation that includes several provisions aimed at holding military bases accountable for PFAS use and potential contamination. By authorizing funding for fiscal year 2024 for the Department of Defense to phase out PFAS and improve PFAS reporting and remediation, the bill seeks to tackle the widespread environmental and public health risks associated with PFAS contamination, which has potentially affected thousands, if not millions, of people across the country. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer or another serious health condition allegedly associated with PFAS exposure from contaminated drinking water, contact Consumer Safety Watch right away. You may be eligible for damages for the harm you and your loved ones have suffered. 

What is the Problem with PFAS?

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a group of manmade chemicals first introduced in the 1940s. Touted for their ability to resist stains, water, heat, and grease, PFAS also break down very slowly, if at all, and over time can accumulate in the environment and the human body. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PFAS may be present in our water, soil, air, and food, and can also be found in certain materials and products, such as food packaging, personal care products, firefighting foam, and drinking water. Because PFAS production and use is so widespread, and because the chemicals persist in the environment for decades, most people in the U.S. have been exposed to PFAS. And while most exposures are low, other people are exposed to concentrated sources over long periods of time and may therefore be at risk for cancer and other adverse health outcomes. This includes people exposed to drinking water contaminated with PFAS and those who work with PFAS-containing firefighting foam, known as aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF).

Health Risks Associated with Exposure to PFAS

As noted above, PFAS have been widely used in a number of industry and consumer products for decades. However, the majority of the PFAS contamination issues affecting U.S. military sites and the surrounding areas stem specifically from the use of AFFF. AFFF is a type of firefighting foam commonly used on military bases and facilities during firefighter training exercises and suppression of high-intensity fires involving flammable substances like oil or petroleum. Unfortunately, the extensive use of AFFF on military bases and other military installations has allowed PFAS to contaminate the public drinking water systems and private drinking water wells of nearby communities. Exposure to PFAS in contaminated drinking water, firefighting foam, and other sources has been linked to a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health problems, including:

  • Cancer
  • Liver damage
  • Thyroid disease
  • Decreased fertility
  • Hormone suppression
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Immune suppression
  • Developmental delays in children

Addressing PFAS Contamination On and Around Military Bases

To address PFAS contamination on and around military bases that use firefighting foam, the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee last week approved the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 (NDAA), which contains several provisions focused on tackling the military’s extensive use of PFAS. More specifically, the bill calls on the Department of Defense to take steps toward avoiding the use of products that contain toxic PFAS chemicals and establishing reporting requirements for sites known to be contaminated with PFAS. 

The proposed legislation has been applauded by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an activitist group specializing in research and advocacy largely pertaining to toxic chemicals, drinking water pollutants, and other environmental contaminants. “Hundreds of communities across the country are still grappling with the effects of 50 years of DOD PFAS pollution,” said Scott Faber, EWG Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, in a press release. “This legislation will get us closer to bringing long-awaited relief to those communities.” If you and your loved ones have been adversely affected by PFAS-contaminated drinking water, contact Consumer Safety Watch today to find out how we can help.

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