Senators demand answers on reported lead poisoning at Army bases

Senators demand answers on reported lead poisoning at Army bases
© Greg Nash

A handful of senators sent a letter to the Army on Friday asking about reports of lead poisoning on U.S. military bases and urging officials to outline steps they are taking to protect any affected families and children.

“The health and safety of our servicemembers and their families are of the utmost importance,” Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KainePanic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda Congress facing shutdown, debt crisis with no plan B Democrats confront 'Rubik's cube on steroids' MORE (D-Va.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerPanic begins to creep into Democratic talks on Biden agenda Democrats surprised, caught off guard by 'framework' deal Schumer announces Senate-House deal on tax 'framework' for .5T package MORE (D-Va.) and Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonCritical race theory becomes focus of midterms Former Georgia ethics official to challenge McBath Loeffler meets with McConnell amid speculation of another Senate run MORE (R-Ga.) wrote in the letter to Army Secretary Mark Esper obtained by Reuters.

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"We ask that you provide our offices with a detailed briefing as soon as possible outlining the immediate and long-term mitigation strategy to keep military families safe, provide medical treatment for those potentially or previously affected, make long-lasting repairs, and finally, provide legislative proposals or guidance on legislation needed to hold maintenance contractors accountable."

The senators cited a Reuters investigation published this week that found instances of lead poisoning at on-base housing at Army bases in Georgia, Louisiana, Texas and Kentucky.

Reuters reported that more than 1,000 young children tested at military clinics had elevated lead levels between 2011 and 2016. It also found military bases failed to report children’s blood test results to state health departments in violation of state laws.

“We are committed to providing a safe and secure environment on all of our installations, and to providing the highest quality of care to our service members, their families and all those entrusted to our care,” Army spokeswoman Col. Kathleen Turner said, according to Reuters

Isakson serves as chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, while Kaine and Perdue are members of the Armed Services panel.