US Military Bases Teem With PFAS. Still No Firm Plan To Clean Them Up

"Excessive levels of PFAS have been detected at 80 percent of active and decommissioned military bases."

"In 2016, Tony Spaniola received a notice informing him that his family shouldn’t drink water drawn from the well at his lake home in Oscoda, Michigan. Over the course of several decades, the Air Force had showered thousands of gallons of firefighting foam onto the ground at Wurtsmith Air Force Base, which closed in 1993. Those chemicals eventually leached into the soil and began contaminating the groundwater.

Alarmed, Spaniola began looking into the problem. “The more I looked, the worse it got,” he said. Two years ago,  his concern prompted him to co-found the Great Lakes PFAS Action network. The coalition of residents and activists is committed to making polluters, like the military and a factory making waterproof shoes, clean up the “forever chemicals” they’ve left behind.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of nearly 15,000 fluorinated chemicals used since the 1950s to make clothing and food containers, among other things, oil- and water-repellent. They’re also used in firefighting foam. These chemicals do not break down over time, and have contaminated everything from drinking water to food. Research has linked them to cancer, heart and liver problems, developmental issues, and other ailments."

Sachi Kitajima Mulkey reports for Grist April 29, 2024.

Source: Grist, 04/30/2024