WASHINGTON, DC (WLNS): U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) and members of the Michigan Congressional Delegation today announced that the Air Force will give $13.5 million to reduce PFAS around the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda.
The funding comes from $60 million that Congress had recently given to the Department of Defense to spend to address PFAS contamination at decommissioned bases around the country.
Last month, Peters – along with U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (MI) and U.S. Representatives Dan Kildee (MI-05), Debbie Dingell (MI-12), Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), Andy Levin (MI-09), Haley Stevens (MI-11) and Rashida Tlaib (MI-13) – wrote to Air Force Secretary Barbara Barrett asking the Air Force to make Wurtsmith Air Force Base a priority.
“When I brought Assistant Air Force Secretary Henderson to Oscoda last year, the message was clear: the Air Force must do more to cleanup PFAS contamination that has devastated the Oscoda community,” said Senator Peters in a press release. “I joined my colleagues in pressing for more funding at Wurtsmith because Michiganders deserve answers and actions. This funding is an important step towards stopping the continued spread of PFAS contamination from the former base, and reducing PFAS exposure in the community. I’m going to continue pushing for additional action and federal resources to address this crisis.”
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals.
Both chemicals PFOS and PFAS are very persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don’t break down and they can accumulate over time.
There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects such as
- low infant birth weights,
- effects on the immune system,
- cancer (for PFOA), and
- thyroid hormone disruption (for PFOS).
To learn more about the effects of PFAS, visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s page on the chemicals.