PFAS Provisions in NDAA Fails to Protect Military Bases and Surrounding Communities


Satellite Beach, Florida, December 19, 2019

Congress failed to adequately protect military service members and surrounding communities of contaminated bases from PFAS chemicals like PFOA, GENX, and Nafion byproduct pollution in this years National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

So far, the EPA and DOD have failed to act fast enough, and the White House is even delaying nationwide PFAS health assessment that will prove meaningful public health evidence to inform science-based policies.

Both the military and PFAS chemicals makers, like DuPont/Chemours, are responsible for the majority of our PFAS public health crisis across the nations and in Florida.

The bipartisan bill compelled the Pentagon to stop using PFAS-containing firefighting foams by 2024 but failed to include crucial cleanup and prevention provisions — a disappointing decision, especially with people suffering from cancers and health problems from exposure to PFAS.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2020 dropped provisions:

  • Restricting PFAS discharges from manufacturers into drinking water supplies under the Clean Water Act.

  • Requiring water utilities to reduce the amount of PFAS in tap water under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

  • Designating PFAS as “Hazardous substances” under the federal Superfund law that requires cleanup of the most contaminated sites. PFAS presents a serious danger to our service members and to the communities who support them. They have been linked to cancer and damage to both reproductive and immune systems. 

The FY2020 NDAA would have given a new course to protect military personnel and surround communities from further exposure to harmful PFAS. It failed to include the requirement that PFAS chemicals are deemed “hazardous substances,” which would have triggered manufacturing companies to pay to clean up sites across the country that are sitting in limbo because cleanup of these chemicals is not prioritized by the government. 


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Letter: https://andylevin.house.gov/sites/andylevin.house.gov/files/090419%20Levin%20PFAS%20Ltr%20to%20NDAA%20Conferees.pdf

Steenland, K., Fletcher, T., & Savitz, D. A. (2010). Epidemiologic evidence on the health effects of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Environmental health perspectives, 118(8), 1100–1108. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920088/

Environmental Protection Agency. (2018). Basic information on PFAS. https://www.epa.gov/pfas/basic-information-pfas

The Federal Role in the Toxic PFAS Chemical Crisis: Hearing before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Federal Spending and Oversight, Senate, 115th Cong. (2018) (Testimony of Maureen Sullivan). https://www.hsgac.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Sullivan%20Testimony.pdf

Examining PFAS and their Risks: Hearing before the Committee on Oversight and Reform, Subcommittee on Environment, House, 116th Cong. (2019) (Testimony of Sonya Lunder). https://www.sierraclub.org/sites/www.sierraclub.org/files/uploads-wysiwig/Sierra-Club-House-oversight-2019.pdf

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