Provision Banning Toxic Firefighting Foam on Military Bases Will Get Senate Vote

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Friday, May 24, 2019

WASHINGTON – The Senate will soon consider a must-pass piece of legislation, including a provision to prohibit the use on military installations of firefighting foam containing the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, led by Chair James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-R.I.), included a provision in the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act that will prevent the Pentagon from procuring and using firefighting foam made with PFAS chemicals on land-based military bases and installations by October 1, 2022.

“This an important step in the nationwide effort to protect the public from these toxic chemicals,” said Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs. “The use of these firefighting foams by the military is one of the leading sources of PFAS contamination in our drinking water. This provision will go a long way toward bringing an end to a route of exposure that puts our service members, their families and those who live near these facilities at greater risk.”

The defense authorization bill also includes an additional $10 million to continue the PFAS health impact study established in the FY 2018 authorization bill that funds a nationwide analysis of the health impacts of PFAS chemicals in drinking water.

In March, EWG released a report mapping 106 U.S. military sites where drinking water or groundwater is contaminated with PFAS chemicals at levels that exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s health guideline.

EWG has called on the Trump administration and Congress to take a series of steps to protect the public from further exposure to PFAS chemicals, including:

  • Identify PFAS pollution sources and regulate discharges into the air and water.
  • Identify the scope of PFAS contamination through regular testing and monitoring.
  • Take PFAS out of consumer products.
  • Stop approving new PFAS chemicals.
  • Set and enforce PFAS cleanup standards.

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The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.