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Kildee Push to Address PFC Drinking Water Contamination Included in Final Defense Bill

November 14, 2017
Press Release

Kildee Continues Fight for Clean-up of Harmful Chemicals at Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda, Other Military Installations Across the Country

Working with Republicans and Democrats, Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05) has successfully pushed for amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would require the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to conduct a national health study on the impact of harmful perflourinated chemicals (PFCs) and look for alternatives to the toxic chemical. The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the final NDAA bill that requires a national health study of PFCs this week.

“The Defense Department must step up and do more to address PFCs and other dangerous chemicals that have contaminated drinking water at Wurtsmith Air Force Base and other military installations across the country,” Congressman Kildee said. “Conducting a health study is the first step to determine the impact of these harmful substances and ultimately ensure that veterans and anyone exposed gets the care they need. I am glad that Republicans and Democrats have joined together to ensure these amendments were included in the final NDAA. In the richest country in the world, no one should have to worry about access to clean drinking water.”

Kildee has repeatedly pushed the DOD for quicker action to address PFCs in drinking water along with a bipartisan group of members, including Representatives Brendan Boyle (PA-13), Patrick Meehan (PA-07), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-08) and Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01).

The NDAA amendments would require the DOD to conduct a study on the health impacts of exposure to PFCs at military installations, which have been found in high levels in drinking water near Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda, among other places. The study would be conducted through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). The amendments would also require the DOD to submit a report to Congress on the status of developing an alternative to PFCs. The U.S. Air Force used PFCs as part of firefighting foam at Wurtsmith Air Force Base and continues to use it at military bases around the country.

According to the CDC, PFCs pose a potential risk for kidney and liver damage. There is also concern about other health problems, including low birth weight, delayed puberty onset, elevated cholesterol levels, and reduced responses to vaccination.

Since learning of PFC contamination in drinking water around Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Congressman Kildee has repeatedly called on the Air Force to do more to help residents in the surrounding area get access to safe drinking water. Congressman Kildee has repeatedly visited Oscoda to meet with local, state and Air Force officials to push for swift action.

Congressman Kildee continues to work closely with Oscoda Township, and federal, state and local agencies to prevent the further exposure to PFCs and provide residents with clean drinking water.