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Dingell Leads U.S. and Japanese Progressive Caucus Members in Advocating for PFAS Protections in NDAA

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, today sent a letter with United States and Japanese Progressive Caucus members calling for any final NDAA legislation to include robust protections from the use of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on U.S. military bases in the United States and abroad.

“The language related to PFAS in the current versions of the House and Senate National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which should apply to U.S. military bases in both the United States and abroad, including Japan, is an important expression of the will of the United States government to recognize the harm PFAS substances have caused and to take appropriate steps to address the problem,” the lawmakers write. “They include prohibitions on incinerating PFAS waste, restrictions on the procurement of PFAS-containing equipment, reporting requirements for suspected PFAS contamination outside the military, and extended studies on the health impacts of PFAS contamination. We are writing to express our support for that language and to urge you to make sure it is included in final passage.”

“PFAS substances were used on U.S. military bases at home and abroad, including Japan, for decades. Once these substances enter the surrounding environment, they are absorbed in the water, soil, plants, and wildlife in the areas adjacent to the bases,” the lawmakers continue. “PFAS substances accumulate in the tissues of human beings who come into contact with contaminated water and soils and consume contaminated wildlife. Some PFAS substances are known carcinogens that cause many different types of cancer. Individuals and families living on the periphery of U.S. military bases both at home and abroad have long endured dangerous exposure to the U.S. military’s decades-long use of PFAS substances.”

“It is important to make every effort to avoid creating or perpetuating known internal threats to the health, happiness, and lives of the citizens it is our duty to defend,” the lawmakers conclude. “We cannot, in good conscience, knowingly sacrifice our most vulnerable citizens if there are protective measures, like those included in the relevant sections of the House and Senate versions of the NDAA, that we can take to prevent it.”

View the full text of the letter here.

Dingell has long led the fight against PFAS, introducing the Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act, No PFAS in Cosmetics Act, and Protecting Firefighters from Adverse Substances (PFAS) Act, in addition to the PFAS Action Act.

PFAS chemicals are man-made chemicals that have so far been found in the drinking water of more than 2,000 communities. PFAS chemicals are persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic—and can be found in some level in nearly everyone’s bodies today. These chemicals have been linked to harmful human health effects, including cancer, reproductive and developmental harms, and weaken immune systems.
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