Jonathan Sharp

The fact that medical professionals seldom ask women whether they served in the military upon assigning them a diagnosis is just one of the reasons why many female veterans fail to receive the healthcare they need.

Across the United States, there are between 450 and 500 military bases, out of which at least 385 are heavily contaminated with PFAS, a group of toxic chemicals. The source of PFAS on military bases is the use of aqueous film-forming foam – AFFF for short – by firefighters and trainees. While it is a very effective fire suppressant for jet fuel and petroleum fires, AFFF is also very dangerous. Every time it is employed, it releases PFAS into the environment. Therefore, the health of both military firefighters and the people who live on these military bases is endangered. Furthermore, the personal protective equipment of military firefighters also contains PFAS, which is another source of exposure. Prolonged or frequent exposure to PFAS is responsible for numerous life-threatening diseases, including cervical cancer and ovarian cancer.

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Women’s eNews is a partner of the ERA Coalition and the Fund for Women’s Equality.

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