Dozens of Military Bases are Plagued with Water Contamination. Here's What You Need to Know.

Beth Baumann
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Posted: May 03, 2017 5:05 PM
Dozens of Military Bases are Plagued with Water Contamination. Here's What You Need to Know.

Last week, the Sacramento Bee reported that around 400 military bases are being tested for water contamination because they used firefighting foam, which contained toxic materials. Of those 400 bases, at least 3 dozen have already confirmed water contamination.

Via Sac Bee: 

But despite more than $150 million spent on the effort so far, the process has been slow and seemingly disjointed. The Air Force, for example, has completed sampling at nearly all of its targeted bases; the Navy, barely 10 percent. The Army has not begun. The branches and the Pentagon say they are coordinating, but have varying responses on how many bases must be tested, and limited information about remediation timelines and cost.

What's even worse? The problem can intensify as the chemicals seep into the soil and groundwater, polluting local drinking water as well. 

For residents near former naval bases in Willow Grove and Warminster, Pa., the issue surfaced three years ago, when they learned their water had been tainted by PFOA and PFOS, perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) that are unregulated and little understood. Used in manufacturing and in military firefighting foam, they have been linked to health problems including testicular and kidney cancers, thyroid disease, and high cholesterol. Research on other potential health effects is ongoing, and some experts contend that even water below the EPA's health advisory level is unsafe.

Contamination has been found near 27 military bases in 16 states, according to the Air Force, Navy, and Army. The military has also addressed contamination in on-base drinking systems on 15 installations.

This is just one type of toxic exposure and contamination that we know about. This doesn't even take into account the other hundreds of suspected cases. 

Sadly, the issue of contamination on America's military bases is nothing new. For years, veterans have fought with the Department of Defense (DoD) and the VA to recognize contamination and toxic exposure as a service-related injury. 

In fact, in 2015, it was discovered that the Department of the Army didn't want a Congressional bill to pass that would recognize Ft. McClellan as a site of toxic exposure. Under the bill, the Army would be required to contact every person who went through the base, which was used for the branch's basic training. Even though most of the military members and their family only spent a short period of time there - usually two to three months - they were exposed to a number of toxins, including Agent Orange and Agent Blue. 

The reason they didn't want the bill to pass? It would drain the Army's budget.

Heaven forbid we think about the health and well-being of our military members and their families. They're willing to fight - and die - for this country and yet we can't even give them the medical treatment they so desperately need and deserve?

Erin Brokovich, who is best known for taking on Pacific Gas and Electric Company of California in 1993, is now fighting to protect our veterans and their families. She went on MSNBC's "For the Record With Greta" to discuss the firefighting foam contamination. 

Brokovich will be taking part in "Operation Stand United," a march by veterans on Washington, D.C. to bring light to toxic exposure and contamination taking place at America's military bases. 

Watch Brockovich's interview with Greta here.