Areas Surrounding Military Bases Continue to be Impacted by PFAS

Military sites have some of the highest levels of PFAS chemicals in the country. These high levels are a result of their prior use of Fire-Fighting foam for training. This foam usually contains perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), which are thought to be linked to cancer, thyroid disease etc. The Spokesman for the Department of Defense explained these foams are no longer used for training, only in times of emergency –but the damage had already been done.

Concern for PFAS contamination surrounding Military bases continues to grow as more cases are brought to the forefront involving the chemicals. Bases in Pennsylvania are showing extreme amounts of PFAS along with correlating health issues among community members. In 2014, tests revealed groundwater near the Willow Grove base had PFAS levels at 329,500 ppt (parts per trillion). The EPA’s current recommended level of PFAS is 70 ppt. 

Pennsylvania is one of the states in which the EPA will conduct research on PFAS chemicals and their impacts on human health. This is the first government-funded research on PFAS, but some believe they are not moving fast enough. Former Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Linda Birnbaum explains, Where there’s pretty much growing, and I’d say fairly clear evidence of harm, EPA doesn’t have the flexibility to move rapidly.”