Circle of Blue: Perfluorinated Chemicals Health Study Included in Congress Budget Deal


House and Senate negotiators secured $10 million in the fiscal year 2018 budget for a study of people on military bases who were exposed to perfluorinated chemicals, also known as PFAS.

The study is a tiny slice of the $1.3 trillion federal budget that Congress is expected to approve this week. But it is an essential first step in linking health problems that veterans and their families now experience to chemicals they may have been exposed to while serving.

PFAS chemicals were prevalent on military bases in the foams used to fight petroleum fires that could result from a plane crash. At fire training sites and elsewhere on the bases the foams were deployed in weekly exercises, often spread or washed onto the ground. Over time the chemicals leached into groundwater and contaminated wells that provided drinking water to some bases. The Defense Department has identified 393 bases where the chemicals were released to the environment.

Brett Walton