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Rounds, Shaheen Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill to Alert Veterans & Service Members Exposed to PFAS Contaminants

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) reintroduced legislation that would create a national database for service members and veterans experiencing health problems possibly due to contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS chemicals are byproducts of aqueous firefighting foam and have been found in drinking water at 600 military installations. Initial analyses have linked PFSA contamination with birth defects, various forms of cancer and immune system dysfunction.

The PFAS Registry Act would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to maintain a registry of those likely impacted by PFAS contamination, and require the VA to update military personnel and veterans on recent scientific developments on the effects of PFAS exposure and the availability of possible treatment options.

“As the military continues to clean up PFAS contamination around our bases, we owe full transparency to the individuals likely impacted,” Rounds said. “Our bipartisan legislation will create a national PFAS registry and hold the VA accountable for regularly updating our service members and veterans on the latest information and treatments related to PFAS contamination.”

“After dedicating their lives to serve our nation, our service members deserve every resource available to stay healthy after being exposed to PFAS contamination,” said Shaheen. “The federal government has a duty to ensure access to information and treatment so families can stay safe, and establishing a national database for service members is crucial to that mission. Our service members and their families deserve nothing short of the best care available – especially after being exposed to potentially harmful PFAS chemicals.”

The VA has established registries for veterans who may have been exposed to environmental contaminants, including Agent Orange and emissions from open burn pits. This act would support these existing efforts, and the legislation specifically:

• Requires VA to establish/maintain a PFAS registry that provides relevant metrics on exposure

• Directs VA to educate eligible individuals about the registry and notify of significant developments

• Requires an independent organization to evaluate the registry and issue a report to Congress

• Directs the VA in consult with the DOD and EPA to continuously provide recommendations to Congress on additional chemicals that should be included in the registry