WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — California Sen. Alex Padilla said nearly 700 military facilities around the country may have dangerous, toxic chemicals contaminating drinking and ground water. Padilla said the Department of Defense discovered the problem — and then didn’t notify service members for at least 5 years.
“These harmful synthetic compounds cause a variety of severe health issues from hormonal disorders, to decreased fertility, to cancer,” Padilla said the the chemicals known as PFAS. “It’s outrageous to hear the stories from service members who raised their families near contaminated bases and didn’t know about the danger until their children got sick.”
Padilla said redacted military records seem to indicate the Pentagon knew about the PFAS contamination for 10 years before notifying impacted military members.
The National Defense Authorization Act, which is still being debated and amended, would provide $517 million to accelerate PFAS clean up at sites known to be contaminated. It would also mandate testing at remaining sites within 2 years.
“Unfortunately, every step of the way it appears that the Pentagon and the Department of Defense are fighting against having to comply with more health protective clean up standards or drinking water standards,” said Colin O’Neil with the Environmental Working Group.
The bipartisan infrastructure bill President Biden signed nto law provides money for cities and states to update water infrastructure.
The DOD said it will respond to the allegations in a Senate hearing Thursday.