6 million Americans are drinking contaminated water linked to cancer
More than 6 million Americans are drinking water polluted with highly fluorinated chemicals.
Highly fluorinated chemicals are found in firefighting foam used by military and domestic airports, furniture, carpets, outdoor gear, clothing, cosmetics, cookware and food packaging.
The health impact of these chemicals, which are increasingly being found in our drinking water, is very concerning.
Patrick Breysse, Director of the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health, described highly fluorinated chemicals as “one of the most seminal public health challenges for the next decades.” A recent analysis indicated that the number of Americans with contaminated drinking water is much higher than scientists had estimated.
A new, peer-reviewed letter calling for coordinated health research in U.S. communities with drinking water contaminated by highly fluorinated chemicals was published in the journal Environmental Health this week.
The Pentagon and the Federal Aviation Administration also received this letter, because firefighting foams used at military bases and airports are responsible for a major share of the contamination.
The legislation would also establish the first-ever nationwide study on the human health effects of exposure to highly fluorinated chemicals from drinking water.
Highly fluorinated chemicals are currently required to be used for fighting aviation fires at both military and domestic airports because of a Department of Defense rule commonly referred to as the Milspec.
According to the third provision in the NDAA, the department is required to submit a report on its development of new firefighting foams and phase out of old varieties of foam within six months.
With NDAA funding for coordinated health studies and remediation in impacted communities, as well as a change in the Milspec to allow fluorine-free firefighting foams, we would indeed be moving towards both solving the current problem and preventing future reoccurrences — for healthier drinking water and a healthier population.