Defense bill allocates $15 million to study toxic ‘forever chemicals’ near military bases

Media Contacts
Danielle Melgar

Former Food & Agriculture, Advocate, PIRG

PFAS chemicals have already been linked to serious adverse health effects

U.S. PIRG and Environment America

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act Thursday. The NDAA includes an amendment from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (NH) that would grow funding for a nationwide health study on the impact of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water to $15 million.

PFAS chemicals are sometimes called “forever chemicals” because they persist in our environment. These chemicals have been linked to cancer, liver damage and other negative health effects. PFAS are of particular concern at or near military bases because they are present in some firefighting foams that are commonly used during training drills. The scientific community is also looking into a potential link between PFAS exposure and increased risk of contracting COVID-19

In response, Danielle Melgar, U.S. PIRG’s Toxics Program advocate, and John Rumpler, Environment America’s Clean Water Program senior director, released the following statements:

“The CDC has found PFAS chemicals in the blood of nearly all individuals it has tested so far. Recent studies have found PFAS contamination of drinking water in New Jersey, North Carolina, Michigan and other states,” said Melgar. “We applaud the senators who voted to include this funding in the final bill, and especially Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, who introduced the amendment. This study will add to the growing body of research on PFAS, which already links the chemicals to serious adverse health effects, including cancer. This is an important step toward convincing companies and legislators that we should stop using these dangerous chemicals as quickly as possible.”

“No one should have toxic chemicals in their drinking water,” said Rumpler. “We applaud Sen. Shaheen’s leadership on the issue and the senators who voted for her amendment in the final bill.”