PFAS Map Update: New Data Show Scope of Known Contamination Still Growing

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Working Group has confirmed the presence of the toxic fluorinated compounds known as PFAS at almost 100 new sites. As of July 2019, at least 712 sites in 49 states are known to be contaminated.

Many of the new PFAS detections, obtained by EWG through searching an Air Force database, reported PFAS levels greater than 100,000 parts per trillion.

The new detections have been added to an interactive map developed by EWG and the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute, at Northeastern University. The map documents publicly known pollution from PFAS chemicals nationwide, including public water systems, military bases, military and civilian airports, industrial plants, dumps and firefighter training sites. The map is the most comprehensive resource available to track PFAS pollution in the U.S.

Even the smallest doses of PFAS chemicals, used in firefighting foam and hundreds of consumer products, have been linked to serious health problems, including cancer and harm to the reproductive and immune systems. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PFAS chemicals contaminate the blood of virtually all Americans.

The new detections underscore the military’s long history of PFAS use and the Pentagon’s failure to protect to military families from toxic pollution.

“Despite knowing the risks posed by PFAS in firefighting foam, the Pentagon continued to put military families at risk for decades,” said Melanie Benesh, EWG’s legislative attorney. “Now, when it’s time to clean up its PFAS pollution, the military is dragging its feet. It’s unconscionable.”

Today the House will consider amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2020 that will quickly phase out military use of PFAS in firefighting foam and food packaging and would accelerate efforts to clean up military contamination.

“The EPA and the Department of Defense have utterly failed to treat PFAS contamination as a crisis demanding swift and decisive action,” said Ken Cook, president of EWG, which has studied these compounds for almost two decades. “It’s time for Congress to end new PFAS pollution and clean up legacy contamination.”

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