Shaheen Statement on NH National Guard and Air Force Agreement to Move Forward on New Occupational Health Study

January 11, 2020

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement on the agreement reached between the New Hampshire National Guard 157th Air Refueling Wing and the U.S. Air Force to study the health impacts of chemical exposure service members and veterans may have experienced during their service at Pease Air National Guard base: 

“Our service members, veterans and their families deserve answers about the health implications of their exposure to potentially harmful chemicals and carcinogens,” said Shaheen. “I’m pleased that the Air Force has finally reached an agreement with the 157th Air Refueling Wing at Pease so that this study can get underway. I’ve repeatedly raised this with the Air Force – first with former Secretary Wilson and more recently with Secretary Barrett – so I’m glad to see this effort move forward. I’m thankful for the tireless work of Doris Brock and other advocates fighting for answers on behalf of their loved ones.”

Senator Shaheen has spearheaded efforts in Congress to uncover the potential health effects related to chemicals and carcinogens at military bases. In 2018, Shaheen called on the Secretaries of Defense and Veterans Affairs to investigate cancer-related health concerns of service members who served at Pease Air National Guard Base. Last year, Shaheen pressed Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson on the continued effects of carcinogens on Air National Guardsmen. In 2017, Shaheen’s legislation to establish the first nationwide health study on the impact of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination was signed into law. Pease now serves as the model test site for the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s (ATSDR) nationwide health study on the health effects of PFAS exposure. Government funding legislation signed into law last month included a number of provisions authored and supported by Shaheen to respond to PFAS contamination.