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Shaheen Reintroduces Legislation to Create Task Force to Address Toxic Chemicals

**As a senior member of the armed services committee Shaheen has led efforts in the Senate to mitigate exposure for veterans and first responders **

(Washington, DC) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, reintroduced the PFAS Exposure Assessment and Documentation Act, which would provide blood testing for service members as part of their annual periodic health assessment (PHA), as well as for family members and veterans who were stationed at one of the more than 700 military installations with known contamination or suspected releases of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). 

“The PFAS contamination of U.S military facilities is an issue that endangers the health of current and former service members and military families and undermines our military readiness. There is sufficient evidence that these chemicals are associated with several health concerns, including harm to the immune and reproductive systems, as well associations with some types of cancers like kidney cancer,” said Shaheen. “The PFAS Exposure Assessment and Documentation Act would offer military families access to blood tests which would ensure that they are informed about possible service connected PFAS exposure and potential associated complications. Our service members have our backs. We should have theirs by ensuring their adequate care and support.” 

The PFAS Exposure Assessment and Documentation Act would require PFAS blood testing for service members, military families and veterans that are or have been stationed at PFAS-contaminated military installations. The results of the blood tests would be included as part of the service member’s PHA to ensure detailed record keeping of their exposure for medical consideration. The bill also requires DOD and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to establish a registry in order to catalogue PFAS exposure of veterans stationed at contaminated installations and ensure service members transitioning to civilian life have their exposure records preserved.  

Senator Shaheen has long led action in the Senate to research, prevent and remediate PFAS exposure. She has also specifically worked on efforts to mitigate exposure for first responders, who are often occupationally more likely to be exposed to these dangerous substances. In the fiscal year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Shaheen added an amendment  to prohibit DOD from purchasing PFAS-laden firefighting turnout gear after October 1, 2026. This follows Shaheen-led efforts to expand blood testing and treatment for firefighters exposed to PFAS and a similar amendment she secured to ban the use of PFAS-laden firefighting foam in the FY 2020 NDAA. Earlier this week, the findings of a report commissioned by Shaheen and conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) were released that detail the prevalence of PFAS chemicals in firefighter turnout gear. Shaheen also advocated for clinical guidance regarding PFAS, resulting in the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) study which reported the detrimental impacts of PFAS.