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Attorney General of Virginia

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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

 

For media inquiries only, contact:  
Charlotte Gomer, Press Secretary
Phone: (804)786-1022 
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING URGES CONGRESS TO TAKE STRONG STANCE ON PFAS IN MILITARY BUDGET

~ Coalition urges Congressional leadership to require the Department of Defense to protect service members, environment from contamination by ‘forever chemicals’ ~

RICHMOND – Attorney General Mark R. Herring joined a coalition of 20 attorneys general in sending a letter today to Congressional leadership, urging them to include protective provisions already passed by the House of Representatives in the final version of the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). 

 

In the letter, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues call on Congressional committee leaders to protect service members, defense communities, and the general public from PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) contamination associated with defense installations when they finalize the NDAA. The letter was sent to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith and Ranking Member Mac Thornberry, along with Senate Committee on Armed Services Chairman James M. Inhofe and Ranking Member Jack Reed.

 

“Dangerous ‘forever chemicals’ are often found around military construction and can have long-lasting negative side effects on individuals,” said Attorney General Herring. “The Commonwealth is home to numerous military bases and installations, which is why I am urging Congress to help protect our service members and other Virginians from the harmful effects of these chemicals.”

 

PFAS contamination in groundwater and surface water has been identified near military installations. Exposure to PFAS has been shown to correlate to adverse health effects including developmental defects, kidney cancer, liver damage, and impacts on the thyroid and immune system.

 

PFAS chemicals are used in a variety of consumer products including nonstick cookware; waterproofing treatments for fabrics, carpeting and upholstery; food packaging; and firefighting foam. PFAS do not break down easily in the environment, which is why they are called “forever chemicals.”

 

When the U.S. House of Representatives finalized its version of the NDAA, it included the following protective provisions that the coalition calls on Congressional leadership to include in the final version:

 

  • Require the Department of Defense to abide by state standards when removing or remediating PFAS, when those state standards are more stringent than federal standards, and regardless of whether a cooperative agreement is in place;
  • Provide additional funding and authorization for PFAS cleanup and research into development of safe PFAS disposal mechanisms and alternatives to PFAS-laden firefighting aqueous film-forming foam;
  • Require the Department of Defense to provide PFAS blood testing for all interested service members;
  • Limit what PFAS-containing products the Department of Defense can procure; and
  • Require the Department of Defense to engage in meaningful stakeholder communication, including promptly publishing results of drinking, surface or groundwater PFAS testing.

 

Joining Attorney General Herring in sending today’s letter are the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Guam, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington and Wisconsin.

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