A bipartisan group of lawmakers sent a letter to President Donald Trump this week asking that he put pressure on the military to increase its PFC cleanup efforts.
PFCs, or perfluorinated compounds, have been found in the groundwater near at least 664 current and former military bases across the country.
The chemicals have been linked to cancer, thyroid disease, and developmental defects in children.
In Michigan, Camp Grayling and the former Wurtsmith Air Force base in Oscoda have been confirmed as sites for PFC contamination.
In Oscoda, PFCs leaked into the well water of residents near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base. Residents and health officials had hoped the Air Force would pick up the tab for connecting residents to city water, which is PFC free.
But the Air Force said it could only take action on houses which tested over the federal limit for PFC contamination.
Denise Bryan with the district health department that oversees Oscoda. She hopes the letter puts pressure on the Air Force to step up and pay to connect residents to city water.
“I don’t think it should be on the taxpayer and I don’t think it should be on these families to pay for the contamination that the Department of Defense made.”
Bryan says the Department of Defense’s reluctance to take action has left many residents in limbo.
“These residents are victimized and they feel like slow moving action or no action from the Department of Defense is impacting their quality of life, their ability to live, play, and work safely in that community. That can’t keep happening to small towns all across the nation.”
Bryan said it’s time for the Department of Defense to step up.
“My heart breaks for these veterans who have medical illnesses and they are calling us saying ‘I lived on the base for five years and drank the water do you think my health conditions could be related to that?” We need to get the answer. We can’t wait ten more years to have more people concerned for their health.”
Representatives with the Air Force say they have been a leader in addressing PFC contamination.
They added the Air Force takes immediate action any time PFC contamination levels exceed the Environmental Protection Agency health advisory level.
You can read the full letter here: https://dankildee.house.gov/sites/danielkildee.house.gov/files/8-1-17%20-%20PFC%20Contamination%20at%20Military%20Bases%20%28Trump%29.pdf