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Wednesday, January 23, 2019
A Simple Way To Stop Giving A Lot Of People Cancer
Katie Jurek (pictured) died of osteosarcoma at age 20 in 2007, one of 21 young victims in 15 years in Oakdale, Minnesota, a town poisoned with chemicals called PFAS by the 3M Company.1
PFAS chemicals cause frequent miscarriages and other severe pregnancy complications. They contaminate human breast milk and sicken breast-feeding babies. PFAS contribute to liver damage, kidney cancer, high cholesterol, decreased response to vaccines, an increased risk of thyroid disease, along with testicular cancer, micro-penis, and low sperm count in males.
A major source of this deadly contamination in hundreds of locations around the United States and around the world is U.S. military bases, which use PFAS for putting out fires, despite full knowledge of the effects, and despite the availability of alternatives.2
Women have warned each other to avoid getting pregnant at particular bases for decades.3 Local governments are struggling to address poisoned ground water around bases in Ohio, Colorado, New Hampshire, Michigan, New Jersey, Belgium, Germany, and Okinawa, with little help from the U.S. military or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).4 Bowing to chemical industry pressure, the EPA refuses to regulate PFAS.
Pictured at right: PFAS-laced foam fills Kadena Air Force Base, Okinawa after a drunk U.S. Marine activated a firefighting system in 2013.5
Local governments hosting U.S. bases outside the United States, of which there are at least 800 major ones in over 80 countries, are often forbidden by Status of Forces Agreements (SOFA) from investigating the environmental destruction of the bases.
Okinawan authorities, who represent communities straddling the bases there, have been recently denied access to the source of the ongoing contamination. The SOFA does not give Japanese authorities access to U.S. bases, preventing them from investigating sources of such contamination.