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: More closures possible at US bases in Europe as coronavirus spreads | Pompeo says Afghan 'reduction in violence is working' | Man accused of trying to blow up vehicle at Pentagon Coronavirus threatens joint US-South Korea military exercises: reports Hillicon Valley: Agencies play catch-up over TikTok security concerns | Senate Dems seek sanctions on Russia over new election meddling | Pentagon unveils AI principles 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 KildeeOvernight Defense: VA deputy secretary fired | Impeachment trial winds down with closing arguments | Pentagon watchdog to probe use of cancer-linked chemical DOD watchdog will review military use of cancer-linked chemical Pelosi digs in on impeachment rules fight 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.