The U.S. is beginning to check whether chemicals from its firefighting foam may have contaminated groundwater at hundreds of sites nationwide, according to the .
Included in the 664 bases being tested is for the possible groundwater contamination from chemicals in firefighting foam at Marine Bases:
- Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base
- Camp Pendleton Marine Base
- Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station
- Kaneohe Bay Marine Corps Base
- Miramar Air Station
- Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort
- Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island
- Quantico Marine Corps Base
- Twentynine Palms MCAGCC
- Yuma Proving Ground
- Yuma Marine Corps Air Station
The began sampling water at bases in December.
At a naval landing field in Virginia, the U.S. is testing wells after the discovery of perfluorinated chemicals in drinking water.
The foam is used at locations where potentially catastrophic fuel fires can occur because it can rapidly extinguish them. It contains perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOS and PFOA, both considered emerging contaminants by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Studies have shown that perfluorinated chemicals may be associated with prostate, kidney and testicular cancers and other health issues, according to the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
The EPA said in 2009 it was assessing the potential risk from short-term exposure to the chemicals through drinking water.
The identified 664 of its fire or crash training sites as of the end of fiscal year 2014, and the services have just begun the process of evaluating those sites to assess the risk to groundwater, Lt. Col. Eric D. Badger, a department spokesman, said this week.
California has the most, with 85, followed by Texas with 57, Florida with 38, and Alaska and South Carolina each with 26, according to a list provided to The Associated Press.
The hasn’t posted a list of the sites online, and it’s too early to know how many sites are contaminated.
“Because we are in the early stages of the cleanup process, we do not have the full scope of the extent of perfluorinated chemicals contamination and the actions the department needs to take to address the risks to human health and the environment,” Badger said in a statement.
Chris Evans, of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, credited the with being proactive. Some states have established their own drinking water and groundwater guidelines.
The says it’s removing stocks of the foam in some cases and trying to prevent any uncontrolled releases during training exercises, until formulations of firefighting foam without perfluorinated chemicals can be certified for use.