The Department of Defense provided an update on the status of a PFAS Task Force examining contamination in the ground water of military installations during a media roundtable last week, noting that hundreds of military installations are affected and authorities are still working on the issue.
PFAS stands for Per- and Polyflouroalkyl Substances, a toxic substance present in foam used in fire suppression. PFAS can cause a range of potential health issues ranging from liver and kidney disease to immunological effects to cancer.
“[W]e looked at 524 different installations across the Department of Defense to understand and to characterize the drinking water systems that we’re responsible for,” Robert H. McMahon, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Sustainment, said at the roundtable. “Of those, the numbers that you’ve seen, 24 of those were above the lifetime health advisory put out by the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] of 70 parts per trillion. …
“In addition, at the time, as we’ve gone through an initial blush, we identified 401 different installations where it appeared there was some level of PFOS/PFOA contamination that was generated by the Department of Defense,” he added.