Toxic foams that threaten the health of armed service members and their neighbors would no longer be used on military bases under Environment Michigan-backed legislation.

On June 13, the U.S. House Committee on Armed Services approved provisions that would phase out the military’s use of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in firefighting foams. PFAS chemicals, which can cause cancer, birth defects and other health problems, threaten the drinking water of 110 million people across the country.

“The Pentagon has already identified 401 military sites in the U.S. with known or potential PFAS releases," said Bart Johnsen-Harris, clean water advocate for our national network. "We support a three-year timeline for transitioning to safer firefighting foams—a reasonable amount of time to harness American ingenuity in a fight to save American lives."

Environment Michigan and our network are also backing the Senate's even more robust version of the PFAS phaseout, which passed on June 27 in a bipartisan 86–8 vote.

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Photo: PFAS foam found in Michigan's Van Ettan Lake as part of an investigation into contamination near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base. Credit: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)