Hundreds Call to END Open Burning of PFAS by U.S. Army Jan 25

CSWAB says "thank you" to the 300 individuals and 72 civic, environmental, veterans, and health organizations , including WNPJ,  who added their voices to the call to END open burning of toxic PFAS compounds!  Here is the joint statement issued by this effort from January 16th. Every year, Tennessee’s Holston Army Ammunition Plant is permitted to open burn 1,250,000 pounds of munitions wastes that may contain as much as 15% PFAS by weight. 

What are PFAS? Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals. PFAS are used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. The best-known fluoropolymer is polytetrafluoroethylene or Teflon.mWhy do some military munitions contain PFAS? PFAS are added to improve the performance and stability of military explosives and munitions.

What happens to PFAS when subjected to open air burning? PFAS are not destroyed in an open fire and are therefore dispersed to the air and the surrounding environment where they accumulate in people, as well as fish and wildlife. At higher temperatures, poisonous hydrogen fluoride gas may be generated. Hydrogen fluoride is a listed hazardous air pollutant subject to regulation by U.S. EPA and authorized states under the Clean Air Act.

What health risks are associated with exposure to PFAS? PFAS have been shown to affect growth and development, reproduction, thyroid function, the immune system, injure the liver and increase risk for certain cancers. How is the Army allowed to open burn PFAS and other toxic waste at Holston? Both the U.S. EPA and Tennessee regulators are getting ready to re-issue permits allowing open air burning of wastes that contain PFAS and other toxic compounds. This burning has been going on for decades.

Can regulators prohibit the burning of PFAS and highly toxic wastes? Yes! At other military sites like the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky, the military is prohibited from burning PFAS and dozens of other toxic wastes. Both Blue Grass and Holston are located in EPA Region 4.

For more information, contact Laura Olah of CSWAB.


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