EWG applauds provisions tackling ‘forever chemicals’ in National Defense Authorization Act

WASHINGTON – Today, the Environmental Working Group applauds the House Armed Services Commmittee for including several provisions to tackle the “forever chemicals” known as PFAS in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2023.

The NDAA, or H.R. 7900, introduced by Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), would:

  • Phase out Department of Defense, or DOD, purchases of personal protective firefighting equipment containing PFAS.
  • Instruct the DOD to award prizes for the development of non-PFAS-containing turnout gear.
  • Prohibit the DOD from buying certain household items containing PFAS and require the DOD to report on essential uses of PFAS
  • Ensure any periodic health exam for Armed Forces members include a PFAS exposure assessment and require the DOD to provide blood testing to service members who were likely exposed to PFAS
  • Require the DOD to track and analyze PFAS blood levels in service members
  • Require the DOD to clean up PFAS-contaminated water so it meets state safety standards.

“These provisions represent significant steps toward addressing PFAS contamination at DOD facilities and exposure to military communities and families,” said Jay Lucey, EWG legislative director. “We applaud Chairman Smith and Reps. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Mikie Sherrill (D-N.J.) and Michael Turner (R-Ohio) for making PFAS a priority.”

PFAS have been confirmed at more than 300 military installations, and hundreds more may be contaminated. Studies show that exposure to very low levels of PFAS can increase the risk of cancerharm fetal development and reduce vaccine effectiveness.

PFAS are known as forever chemicals because they build up in our blood and organs, and do not break down in the environment.

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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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