DOD watchdog will review military use of cancer-linked chemical

DOD watchdog will review military use of cancer-linked chemical
© Greg Nash

The Pentagon’s internal watchdog will review the military’s response to a cancer-linked chemical spread in part by its use of firefighting foam.

A class of chemicals abbreviated as PFAS has contaminated water in at least 425 military sites, pushing Department of Defense (DOD) Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: Trump extends deployment of National Guard troops to aid with coronavirus response | Pentagon considers reducing quarantine to 10 days | Lawmakers push for removal of Nazi headstones from VA cemeteries No time to be selling arms to the Philippines Pentagon considers cutting coronavirus quarantines to 10 days MORE to take action on his first day in office and start a task force to address the substance.

The review from the DOD’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is a response to a request spearheaded Rep. Dan KildeeDaniel (Dan) Timothy KildeePelosi makes fans as Democrat who gets under Trump's skin House to consider amendment blocking warrantless web browsing surveillance Bipartisan bill aims to help smallest businesses weather the coronavirus crisis MORE (D-Mich.) that asks how long the DOD has known PFAS was harmful to human health, how the military will address cleaning up the substance, and how it will take care of service members and communities harmed by PFAS.

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“Simply, it appears the scope of the problem far outweighs the allocated resources and focus of the DOD,” lawmakers wrote in their July request.

Lawmakers have undertaken numerous efforts to push the military to take greater steps to address PFAS, including measures in the defense policy act that required the military to end its use of PFAS-laden firefighting foam.

OIG’s decision to review the military’s response could be something of a road map for the DOD but also for lawmakers eager to make sure funds allocated for cleanup are being used effectively.

The agency’s own PFAS task force, however, is also expected to release its findings shortly.

The military’s financial liability on PFAS is already expected to exceed its original $2 billion estimate. 

The DOD did not respond to request for comment.