Hazardous chemicals found at four military sites in Wisconsin, records show

An emerging class of chemicals that have prompted heightened security concerns nationally have been found at four Wisconsin military sites, Lee Berquist of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Known as perfluorinated chemicals, a federal draft report released in June found the compounds present a greater public health risk than previously known. The report said studies suggest that the chemicals are associated with increased risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension, liver damage, thyroid disease, asthma, decreased fertility, some cancers and a decline in response to vaccines. The chemicals can seep into soil and pollute surface water and groundwater and potentially contaminate drinking water.

Records and email correspondence obtained by the Journal Sentinel from the Department of Natural Resources show contamination has been found at sites of the Air National Guard 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee; the 440th Airlift Wing of the Air Force Reserve; Fort McCoy between Sparta and Tomah; Volk Field at Camp Douglas in Juneau County; and at Truax Field in Madison. The 440th moved from Milwaukee to a base in North Carolina in 2007.

In late 2017, a Johnson Controls-owned manufacturer in Marinette began investigating how the chemicals had strayed from its property and how best to contain the pollutants, Berquist wrote. Other states are investigating whether the chemicals are in public drinking water. In Michigan, the state is spending $1.7 million to test water and said on Aug. 21 it is finding evidence of the compounds. Only one community, Parchment near Kalamazoo, is so far known to have drinking water above the health advisory of 70 parts trillion.

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