Senate committee adopts amendment to address 'forever chemicals' in defense spending bill

WASHINGTON – The Senate Armed Services Committee has approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2022 to address the testing and cleanup of toxic fluorinated “forever chemicals” known as PFAS at military installations.

The amendment, modeled on the Filthy Fifty Act and championed by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) requires the Defense Department to:

  • Test for PFAS at all military installations and National Guard facilities where PFAS contamination is suspected by 2023.
  • Develop a schedule for cleaning up PFAS contamination at all military installations, National Guard facilities, and formerly used defense sites where PFAS contamination has been identified.
  • Report to Congress within 60 days on PFAS remediation efforts at the “Filthy Fifty” military installations with some of the highest PFAS detections across the country.

In addition, the committee-passed NDAA for FY2022 would authorize an additional $15 million to continue the study on health exposure of defense communities affected by PFAS by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

“Thanks to Senator Gillibrand, by 2023, we’ll finally know just how extensive PFAS contamination is at military installations across the country and, within a year, the Defense Department will finally propose deadlines for when it will clean up the sites,” said Scott Faber, EWG senior vice president for government affairs.

“Our service members and military communities living near these polluted bases deserve swift action by the Defense Department. That will take deadlines and that will take greater resources. The Senate still has much work to do but the provisions championed by Sens. Gillibrand, Shaheen and Blumenthal are an important first step,” Faber added.

The bill now heads to the Senate floor for consideration.


The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

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