Urge Congress to Adequately Fund PFAS Cleanup! - Waterkeeper

Urge Congress to Adequately Fund PFAS Cleanup!

By: Thomas Hynes

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) recently submitted a budget request for the cleanup of military installations, including those facilities contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances(PFAS). Despite the many known dangers that PFAS, aka ‘forever chemicals’, present to the environment and public health, the DoD is only asking for $1.6 billion, with less than $300 million allocated for PFAS cleanup. The Pentagon’s own 2022 estimate suggests that $38 billion will be needed to remove these toxic forever chemicals. At that rate, it would take DoD roughly 126 years to clean up PFAS contamination.

However, it need not take ‘forever’, or even more than a century, for the U.S. government to clean up these ‘forever chemicals.’ This dangerous contamination must be addressed more urgently.

Tell your members of Congress to adequately fund PFAS cleanup at military sites in the U.S. today!

It is estimated that over 200 million Americans are already exposed to PFAS through drinking water. According to our
PFAS contamination report from 2022 – “Invisible, Unbreakable, Unnatural” – a staggering 83% of the surface water samples showed detection of at least one PFAS compound. Multiple PFAS compounds were often detected together and at very high levels.

PFAS pose a grave risk to public health. They are linked to increased incidence of cancer, liver and kidney disease, reproductive issues, immunodeficiencies, and hormonal disruptions. They can take a very long time to break down. Some forms of PFAS can even take over 1,000 years to degrade. Tragically, this means that once PFAS get into the ecosystem, they present a danger to humans and wildlife\ for a very, very long time.

PFAS contamination is alarmingly widespread at military installations nationwide, owing in part to the historic use of these chemicals in firefighting foams. Data reveal detections at over 2,800 installations spanning all 50 states. The DoD is currently investigating more than 700 installations and National Guard facilities for PFAS contamination.

DoD is entrusted with ensuring our nation’s safety and security. However, the longer PFAS contamination is allowed to enter our water and food chain, the more that people and our environment will pay a catastrophic price. There is no justification for delay or inadequate funding.

Contact your members of Congress today in support of funding thorough and swift PFAS cleanup!