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Kildee: U.S. Air Force prioritizing studying PFAS contamination over cleanup

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

A Michigan congressman wants to see the United States Air Force focus more on cleaning up PFAS contamination at a former Air Force base in northern Michigan.

Representative Dan Kildee (D-Flint) says there's been too much focus on studying the problem.

For decades, the U.S. Air Force used firefighting foam containing PFAS in training exercises at the former Wurtsmith Air Force base. The contamination has seeped far from the base into the surrounding community and lakes and streams.

The U.S. Air Force last month announced it is expanding the cleanup of the area around Oscoda.

Rep. Kildee says there's been too much focus on studying the problem. And he says the U.S. Air Force is asking for more data and additional studies.

“We don’t want to be against more data, but the lion’s share of the effort ought to be focused on cleanup,” says Kildee.

PFAS are industrial chemicals that have been linked to serious human health problems, including some kinds of cancer.

Representatives of the Air Force are scheduled to discuss the next phase of the cleanup with Oscoda officials on Wednesday.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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