WASHINGTON, D.C. – More than a dozen reforms to reduce and remediate pollution from the toxic fluorinated chemicals known as PFAS were included the annual Department of Defense spending bill that passed the House last week, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
PFAS pollution has been detected at more than 300 military installations, but the Defense Department has been slow to clean up legacy pollution or reduce ongoing PFAS exposures, the EWG said in a news release.
In the bill passed by the House, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2021 would:
• Require the Pentagon to phase out the non-essential use of PFAS in everyday products like cookware, sunscreens, personal care products, floor and furniture wax, carpeting and upholstery, and food packaging.
• Require the Pentagon to meet state PFAS clean-up standards when those standards exceed federal standards.
• Place a moratorium on the incineration of PFAS by the Defense Department until safe disposal regulations are finalized by the Pentagon and the Environmental Protection Agency.
• Require the Pentagon to notify farmers when PFAS that originates on a military installation contaminates nearby groundwater.
• Requires the Pentagon to publish the results of drinking and groundwater testing for PFAS conducted on military installations or former defense sites.
• Expand blood testing to any active duty service members who want to have their blood tested for PFAS.
• Provide $150 million for research into the development of PFAS remediation and disposal technologies as well as PFAS-based firefighting foam replacements.
• Provide nearly $200 million in additional funding for PFAS remediation at active and former military installations, including National Guard facilities.
• Require federal experts to conduct a study on the use of PFAS chemicals in firefighting equipment and the risk posed to firefighters, and expands a study of PFAS contamination in eight communities.
• Clarify that manufacturers using PFAS must disclose all discharges of the chemicals of more than 100 pounds.