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Timeline of events for contamianted military bases

December 2022 - Over 600,000 U.S. troops may have been exposed to PFAS on military bases, according to a report from the Department of Defense and analysis from the Environmental Working Group. The Department of Defense found PFAS at 70 parts per trillion or more at 24 military bases across the country. At the moment, there are 400 U.S. military installations in the states and overseas with known PFAS contamination and more than 300 with suspected contamination.

September 2021 - The Department of Defense sent letters to 2,063 agricultural operations within a mile of 95 military bases regarding PFAS contamination in the area farmworkers were living in. The average military base sent 21 notices, and half of the installations sent seven or fewer.

August 2021 - Over 385 military bases are contaminated with PFAS, according to the Pentagon. Richard Kidd, deputy assistant secretary of defense for environment and energy resilience, said during a public discussion on PFAS that it would take "years to fully define cleanup requirements the department faces, and probably decades before that cleanup is complete." The cleanup endeavor costs were estimated at $2 billion.

July 2021 - The Department of Defense held a public outreach event detailing the roles and responsibilities, funding process, and actions taken as part of its cleanup activities concerning PFAS contamination of communities living near military bases. The presentation detailed the future goals of the Department of Defense regarding public health outcomes, such as minimizing the use of AFFF and monitoring the health of firefighters who have been exposed to PFAS.

January 2021 - New Jersey sued the federal government, accusing it of contaminating the environment with PFAS on three military bases in the state by continuing to use AFFF. PFAS have polluted the Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and two other bases at Trenton and Earle at levels that greatly exceed New Jersey's safe limit for human exposure. The federal government waived sovereign immunity by agreeing to follow the state's standards for the safe exposure levels of PFAS but has "not addressed the imminent and substantial endangerment to the human health of New Jersey's residents."

October 2019 - Environmental Working Group compiled a top 100 list of the most contaminated military bases with PFAS in the U.S. At 13 sites in California, Florida, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia, the PFAS contamination level was over 1 million parts per trillion when the safe limit is just 70 parts per trillion. The military base with the highest PFAS level was England Air Force Base in Louisiana, where there were approximately 20.7 million parts per trillion PFAS.

2015 - The main U.S. manufacturers voluntarily ceased the production of PFOS and PFOA. Moreover, the Department of Defense updated the Military Specification for AFFF so that new supplies available for emergency firefighting responses would not contain detectable levels of PFOS or PFOA. Still, AFFF continues to be used by the Department of Defense, but only to respond to emergency situations.

1966 - The formula of AFFF was developed by the U.S. Navy together with the 3M company. Soon, all military vessels were required to carry AFFF to be used to extinguish a potential jet fuel or petroleum fire. AFFF is designed to put out Class B fires, which stem from flammable liquids or gases, such as petroleum greases, tars, oils, certain paints, solvents, and lacquers.

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