Source: United States House of Representatives – Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (MI-08)
October 23, 2020
HOLLY, MI –– U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin introduced a bipartisan bill this week with Representatives Deb Haaland (D-NM), Mike Turner (R-OH), and Bill Posey (R-FL) to protect military servicemembers and their families from PFAS “forever chemicals” contamination, which have been shown to lead to adverse health effects. According to data from the Department of Defense, there are over 700 current and former military installations with known or suspected PFAS contamination.
The bill takes bold steps to strengthen testing and tracking PFAS exposure in servicemembers, by mandating blood testing for PFAS chemicals for those who may have been exposed, and allowing military families to also get tested for PFAS exposure. The bill also opens up testing to former servicemembers and their families, allowing them to get tested at no cost.
The PFAS Exposure Assessment and Documentation Act would:
Require PFAS exposure evaluation during periodic health assessments. The bill would require the DoD to include in routine service member health assessments an evaluation and documentation of possible exposure to PFAS.
Require PFAS blood testing for service members. The bill would require PFAS blood testing of a service member who may have been exposed to PFAS during their annual periodic health assessment (PHA) if it is determined they were stationed at one of the more than 700 military installations contaminated by PFAS. This information would be recorded in the service member’s medical record, and added to a registry.
Make available PFAS blood testing for military families. The bill allows for dependents of a service member who was stationed at a PFAS contaminated base to elect to get a PFAS blood test covered under TRICARE—the military health insurance. It would also require DOD to cover the cost of a former service member and their family to elect to get a PFAS blood test, if they are no longer covered under TRICARE, but were stationed at PFAS contaminated military base during their career.
Require documentation of service members exposed to PFAS. The bill would require DoD and the VA to enter into agreement that information about PFAS exposure would be shared with the VA upon service member separation; it would also require DoD to maintain a registry of service members exposed, with the option for individuals to opt out of inclusion in such a registry; and share information about exposure with service members who were found to be exposed to PFAS contamination, whether on a base with known contamination or from periodic health assessments.
This bill is a modified companion to S. 3911, which Senator Jean Shaheen introduced in the Senate in June 2020. Some provisions are included in the House-passed FY21 NDAA (H.R. 6395).