Does This Remind You of Agent Orange?
VETERANS POST by Freddy Groves
In the 1960s, the Navy, along with a civilian manufacturer, developed a flammable liquid-fuel firefighting foam called Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) that the Navy began using in 1967. In the 1970s, the manufacturer had concerns about the chemical being found in humans at toxic levels.
In the 1980s, the Air Force began research into toxicity in rats. In the 1990s, the Army Corps of Engineers said the foam was hazardous, and a Navy study determined that AFFF was toxic. In 2011, the Department of Defense finally issued a human health and environmental risk alert. In 2018, the DOD sent a note to Congress about using an alternative foam. This year, the EPA released an action plan. The Navy will begin using a new AFFF formulate in 2020.
The gears of government grind slowly ...
If they knew in the 1970s that the chemical was toxic, what took so long? Pease Air Force Base is an example. Pease closed in 1991 and the water was first tested in 2014. Workers who had been at the base were dying at an accelerated rate, a cancer cluster. Community-wide testing in 2015 showed that everyone had elevated levels of PFAS. The result: The chemicals in the foam, called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), got into the groundwater and wells. People were drinking it.
Once introduced, those chemicals stay put. They’re called Forever Chemicals because they never go away. Studies indicate that they can cause cancer a decade later, increase cholesterol, interfere with pregnancy and more.
If you served at any military installation since the 1960s, look online for “SSEHRI PFAS Contamination Site Tracker” and find a chart showing the locations of PFOA and PFAS sites. It currently has 210 sites listed. Search online for the Environmental Working Group PFAS map called PFAS Contamination in the U.S. To keep up with news on PFAS, bookmark https:// pfasproject.com.