Banned chemicals contaminate groundwater near US bases on Okinawa
Banned chemicals contaminate groundwater near US bases on Okinawa.
The Pentagon won’t let Okinawan officials on base to investigate.
The carcinogenics perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) were found in high concentrations in underground water during surveys in August and January, the Okinawa prefectural government’s environmental protection department said in a statement.
Despite the ban, though, the chemicals have been discovered near both Futenma and Kadena Air Base, also on Okinawa.
The three locations had 1.3, 0.21 and 0.71 micrograms respectively, and were all adjacent to and downstream from Kadena.
“We received a [ministry] response that the military handles the agents appropriately and that they see no need to conduct the proposed survey.” Despite the presence of the chemicals in groundwater, water remains safe to drink, according to a spokesman from Ginowan City’s water bureau.
The Chatan Water Treatment Plant serves both Kadena and the surrounding areas.
Around the same time that PFOS and PFOA were discovered in the groundwater downstream of Kadena, the Air Force announced it would switch to an "environmentally responsible" foam used to extinguish fires because the acids were detected at current and former military bases where firefighting training exercises have been conducted in the US.
In June 2015, the Department of Veterans Affairs awarded disability payments to some US veterans who were exposed to the toxic herbicide Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
However, the US government has not compensated Vietnamese citizens who were affected by the poison, or the following generations that are still dealing with the consequences.