An Empire of Bases Poisons Water, Threatening Its Own Collapse
By Pat Elder,
Per-flouro octane-sulfo-nate or PFOS, and Per-flouro-octa-noic acid or PFOA, are the active ingredients in the foam routinely used to train soldiers to extinguish aircraft fires at US military bases around the world. The toxic chemicals are allowed to leach into surrounding soil to poison groundwater. The result is one of the greatest water contamination epidemics in human history.
Doubt that? Click on Google News and enter: “PFOS PFAO Military Base.” Then, come back and read the rest of this article – and brace yourself. It’s bad.
The water in thousands of wells in and around US military installations across the globe have been tested and have been shown to contain harmful levels of PFOS and PFOA. The health effects of exposure to these chemicals include frequent miscarriages and other severe pregnancy complications, like long-term fertility issues. They contaminate human breast milk and sicken breast-feeding babies. PFOS and PFOA contribute to liver damage, kidney cancer, high cholesterol, decreased response to vaccines, an increased risk of thyroid disease, along with testicular cancer, micro-penis, and low sperm count in males.
The Pentagon has known of the disastrous impact PFOS and PFOA have on human health and the environment since 1974, and they continue to use the poisonous foams today.
By 2001, the US military fully understood the enormity of the problem. They knew firefighting foams used at bases worldwide were poisoning streams and well water in surrounding communities, but they were concerned that publicizing the deadly contamination would be extraordinarily expensive, so, they decided to keep it quiet and continued to use the foams — without investigating whether anyone on or off the bases had been sickened.
Think I’m overstating it? Then, you probably didn’t google it like I suggested at the top of this piece.
This thing has blown up in the last few months.
Examine the brilliant reporting by Tara Copp of Military Times, a Gannett News publication. Her series documents untold suffering from young women in the military who drank the water on base. Her pieces, including, Why women were told “Don’t get pregnant at George Airbase.” are tough to read because they link the contamination to human misery and death. Many women reported multiple miscarriages, others had stillborn children. The military still refuses to release the medical records for afflicted women all over the country.