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Report: Military Pushing EPA To Set Lenient PFAS Standards

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

As federal regulators consider new drinking water standards for toxic PFAS chemicals, military officials are reportedly pushing for less stringent rules.

The Environmental Protection Agency is planning new standards for testing, treatment and cleanup of PFAS contamination.

But The New York Times reports the Department of Defense is pushing for PFAS limits that are far higher than the EPA's current health advice – and even that advice is far higher than what other federal science suggests may be safe.

At a U.S. Senate hearing Thursday, New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen urged acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to look into the matter.

"I don't understand how you and the Department of Defense could be trying to reduce the standards that affect drinking water for literally millions of people around the country,” Shaheen said.

Shaheen cited concerns about the former Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth. It's one of around four hundred military sites nationwide thought to be contaminated with PFAS.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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