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Blumenthal & Shaheen Introduce Legislation to Reduce PFAS Exposure Among Servicemembers & Military Families

Exposure to items containing PFAS has been linked to cancer, liver damage, asthma, and other serious long-term health conditions

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Today, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced legislation to reduce exposure of servicemembers and their families to harmful PFAS chemicals. The PFAS Free Military Purchasing Act prohibits the Department of Defense from procuring, purchasing, and selling items that contain per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), dangerous and toxic chemicals commonly found in many everyday items like food service ware, carpets and rugs, clothing, and cosmetics. PFAS exposure has been linked to a number of serious health conditions, including cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility, and increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease.

“This bill will help protect the health of our armed forces from highly hazardous PFAS chemicals,” said Blumenthal. “These persistent and pervasive toxins are in cookware, furniture, toothpaste, and many other everyday items, putting members of our military and their families needlessly at risk. With PFAS-free products widely available, DOD should lead the way in making the switch to healthier alternatives for the sake of our servicemembers—and pave the way for the rest of the country to follow suit.” 

“New Hampshire service members and veterans know all too well the alarming health implications tied to PFAS exposure. We know these harmful chemicals are not only in our water supplies, but also everyday items. It’s unacceptable that taxpayer dollars are being spent on household products that expose our military members and their families to these toxic chemicals,” said Shaheen. “It’s past time we require the Department of Defense to purchase safer, PFAS-free alternatives for our service members so they can use everyday products like cleaning supplies and food packaging without worrying about their personal health. I’m proud to join Senator Blumenthal in this effort to incentivize the Pentagon to protect our military families by banning the purchase of products with well-documented health risks.”

The items covered by this bill would include non-stick cookware and food service ware for use in galleys or dining facilities, food packaging materials, furniture and floor waxes, carpeting, rugs, curtains, upholstered furniture, personal care items, dental floss, toothpaste, sunscreen, umbrellas, luggage and bags, ski wax, car wax and car window treatment, cleaning products, and shoes and clothing for which PFAS treatment is not currently necessary for an essential function.

The PFAS Free Military Purchasing Act is endorsed by the Environmental Working Group and the Green Science Policy Institute.

“Service members risk everything to keep us safe. We should do everything we can to keep them safe as well,” said Scott Faber, Environmental Working Group’s Vice President for Government Affairs. “We applaud Senator Blumenthal and Senator Shaheen for introducing legislation to phase PFAS out of everyday products procured or purchased by the DOD. There’s no reason toxic forever chemicals should be in the products our service members take into their homes.”

“The PFAS Free Military Purchasing Act will protect military men and women from the harm of PFAS in products they are exposed to every day ­in furniture, curtains, food packaging and even toothpaste and dental floss,” said Arlene Blum PhD who leads the Green Science Policy Institute. “And it will prevent contamination of our land and water, protecting all of us from these harmful forever chemicals.”

The full text of the Senate legislation can be found here.