A report by the DOD has revealed that 126 military installations are utilizing unsafe drinking water, perflourinated compounds have been found in the water at these installations, according to Military Times. The National Institute of Environmental Health says these compounds are used to make everyday items more resistant to stains, grease, and water. PFC’s can keep food from sticking to pans. However, these compounds have also been linked to Cancer and birth defects.
Perfluorinated chemicals were first used in the mid-20th century, and they are a part of a family of 3,000 man-made chemicals. The chemicals were found in the blood of workers who were exposed to the chemical in 1970. Another study in 1990 found the chemical in the blood of the general population. The compounds have also been linked to Breast Cancer in Greenlandic Inuit women, according to a recent study.
The Pentagon recently reported its findings to the Armed Services Committee and revealed the entire scope of the situation. In the report, all 126 bases found to have contaminated water are listed. However, the report almost did not see the light of day. Politico previously reported that the White House tried to block the report from being released to the public because it would be a public relations nightmare.
The report does not reflect kindly on the Pentagon nor the EPA. The EPA just lost its director, Scott Pruitt, amid several scandals and now faces more exits from several top aides who are resigning following the report.
The acting head of the EPA, Andrew Wheeler, has promised more transparency going forward. He has also promised a change in tone. However, many critics are skeptical of the acting EPA head, who is a former Coal lobbyist who fought against regulation to fight climate change.
The clean up at these military bases will cost in the millions. One town whose water was contaminated by a nearby base is so far stuck with a $25 million bill. Health concerns will no doubt continue and this issue is far from being resolved.