Lawmakers have introduced a bill to create a registry of military families experiencing cancers and other illnesses they think may be tied to base water contamination.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., and Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., introduced the “PFAS Registry Act” in April. The legislation would “create a national database for service members and veterans experiencing health problems possibly due to contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, (PFAS),” the senators wrote.
In April, Military Times reported that the Pentagon had released a study on all the bases that have water sources that tested positive for higher than recommended levels of PFOS and PFOA — compounds tied to cancers and birth defects.
PFAS is the larger family of chemicals that includes PFOS and PFOA, compounds that “have emerged as a widespread contaminant to the drinking water sources of military bases across the country due to their use in firefighting foam used by the armed services,” the senators wrote.
The registry would be similar to one established to record service member exposure to burn pits, In February the Department of Labor found that exposure to the open-air burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan had caused lung disease.
Separately, Shaheen secured $7 million in the 2018 federal budget agreement signed in March for a nationwide study of the long-term health affects of PFOS and PFOA on military bases and their surrounding communities.
Tara Copp is a Pentagon correspondent for the Associated Press. She was previously Pentagon bureau chief for Sightline Media Group.