This afternoon, Emily Dooley, of Bloomberg Environment, reports that the US Senators representing California and New York are seeking $10 billion to clean up PFAS contamination from military bases. Senator Gillibrand is certainly correct in noting the "clear link" between the use of fire fighting foam on those bases and PFAS in drinking water. But, there are equally clear links between the use of fire fighting foam elsewhere and PFAS in drinking water and equally clear links between landfills, sewage treatment facilities, metal platers, coaters, and scores of other operations and PFAS in drinking water. And it will cost a lot more than $10 billion to treat all of the affected water. So don't we need EPA to set a standard for PFAS in drinking water before Senator Gillibrand can say what is, or isn't, a "dangerous level". Such a standard will allow EPA and the States to prioritize clean up where it is needed most urgently, whether the source is military or not, and avoid panicking a pandemic weary general public about risks they will have difficulty avoiding.
“We have seen the harmful effects of these toxic chemicals in New York, California, and across the country,” Gillibrand said in a news release. “There is a clear link between the use of PFAS firefighting foam on military bases and dangerous levels of PFAS in the drinking water of surrounding communities.”