La Defense The department dragged its feet to protect service personnel from " eternal chemicals "on military installations and not doing enough to follow health effects of exposure to compounds toxic, according to an internal audit.
Officials have taken action to find and clean groundwater contaminated with fire-fighting foam containing PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl substances and polyfluoroalkyl, discovered the inspector general of the ministry. But its recently released report says the Pentagon has failed to address other sources of chimic as required by its rules. by Congress, officials have no plan to track and analyze department-wide results.
In this archive photo from June 7, 2018, PFAS or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, foam accumulates at the Van E damtten Creek in Oscoda Township, Michigan, near Wurtsmith Air Force Base. (Jake May / The Flint Journal via AP, File)
GERMAN CHEMICAL EXPLOSION RESULTS IN SEVERAL DEATHS, DOZENS OF INJURIES
The ministry "is missing an opportunity to capture comprehensive PFAS exposure data for DoD firefighters to use for risk management, including future studies to assess significant effects on long health lating to PFAS, "according to the audit, which is dated July 22.
The report included responses from two assistant secretaries of defense who largely agreed with conclusions and promised to answer them. The inspector general said the case would remain open until his recommendations were implemented.
"The inspector's reportElector General Confirms Defense Department Must Do More Urgently To Protect Military Members And Their Families From PFAS Chemicals, "Rep. Dan Kildee, Democrat Of Michigan And Co-Chair Of Congressional PFAS Task Force, said Tuesday.
A Pentagon spokesperson made no immediate comment.
A CHEMICAL LEAK AT THE SIX FLAGS WATER PARK IN TEXAS AFFECTS 65 PEOPLE, THE HAZMAT TEAM RESPONDS
PFAS refers to the thousands of synthetic compounds used in countless products, including non-stick cookware, water-repellent sports equipment, cosmetics, and grease. resistant food packaging, as well as fire-fighting foams.
Public health studies in exposed populations have linked chemicals to a range ofhealth problems, including certain cancers, weakened immunity and low birth weight. Large-scale tests in recent years have revealed high levels of PFAS in many public water systems. They are called "forever chemicals" because they do not degrade in the environment.
PFAS substances have been found in groundwater on or near more than 300 military bases, according to the nonprofit Environmental Task Force.
Military crews began using foam containing PFAS to extinguish petroleum-related fires in the 1970s, audit found . The Pentagon was informed in 2000 that major manufacturers were phasing out products, including foam, made with some of the chemicals after one of them was found to be toxic and accumulated in the bloodstream. over time.
'DEEP CONCERN ' AS AFGHANISTAN DEGRADES, THE TALIBAN SURGE AMID THE WITHDRAWAL OF THE AMERICAN TROOPS: PENTAGON
Yet the ministry waited until 2011 to issue an alert and took five years to list risk management actions such as preventing uncontrolled releases of foam tea during formation and removal when possible, according to the audit.
"Some of the most common detections highest in the world were found in the groundwater "of military installations, said Scott Faber, of the environmental task force senior vice president for government affairs. This means that the staff " drank from extremely polluted water for much longer than it should have, in violation of the department's own policies. "
These derIn recent years, the Pentagon has tested wells and groundwater based on two widely used PFAS chemicals and has started removing foam containing one of them from its stockpiles, the audit said.
But other than fire-fighting foam, the department has not addressed the potential pollution caused by other materials containing PFAS as required by its rules, the report says.
NEWT GINGRICH: CRITICAL AND MILITARY RACE THEORY - THIS IS HOW OUR TROOPS AND THE COUNTRY WILL BE INJURED
"En As a result, people and the environment may continue to be exposed to avoidable risks, "he said.
In comments attached to the report, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment Paul Cramer said risk management options forur materials containing PFAS other than foam would be developed by early 2022.
Responding to the call audit for tracking and analyzing blood test results to monitor long-term health effects, Acting Assistant Defense Secretary for Readiness Thomas Constable said the data would be shared with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to aid a cancer study in firefighters.
In addition, the department will analyze results from the PFAS serum lab at the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center and will develop exposure limits will take more than four years, he said.