Senators Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Assist Vets, Military Families Exposed to PFAS Chemicals

EWG Applauds Shaheen and Rounds for PFAS Registry Act
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For Immediate Release: 
Wednesday, April 10, 2019

WASHINGTON – Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) have reintroduced a bill to help veterans, service members and their families with health problems potentially triggered by exposure to the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS.

The PFAS Registry Act would establish an online database for military personnel and veterans “to receive updates on recent scientific developments on the effects of PFAS exposure, availability of possible treatment options, and information on what resources may be available to address their health concerns,” according to a news release from Shaheen.

“We applaud Sens. Shaheen and Rounds for standing up for our veterans, military members and their families who have been exposed to these contaminants while serving their country,” said Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs. “There is no other group of Americans who give so much for their country and ask for so little in return. The very least we can do is provide resources to help those who are struggling with health problems caused by PFAS contamination.”

PFAS on military bases is widespread because, for nearly 50 years, the Pentagon has used firefighting foam containing these chemicals. Studies link PFAS exposure to kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease and weakened childhood immunity, among an array of serious health problems.

In March, EWG released a report that found water sampled on or near at least 106 military sites was contaminated with PFAS chemicals, above what EPA considers safe, according to Department of Defense data. But that’s only the tip of a toxic iceberg.

EWG’s report includes an interactive map of bases identified from a Defense Department presentation to Congress last year. It also lays out how the Pentagon long knew about the health hazards of PFAS chemicals but continued using the toxic firefighting foam until a few years ago.

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 directing the military to quickly clean up contaminated bases.

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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.