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DOD: Mountain Home Air Force Base drinking water tested positive for dangerous chemicals

An F-35A that visited Mountain Home Air Force Base for testing and evaluation in 2016.
An F-35A that visited Mountain Home Air Force Base for testing and evaluation in 2016.

Mountain Home Air Force Base was among 36 military sites found to have on-site drinking water systems with dangerous levels of contaminates potentially associated with developmental delays and other serious health problems.

The study, produced by the Department of Defense in March, examined 524 on-site water systems in 2016 to see if they tested positive for Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) as of Aug. 31.

The contaminates "are part of a class of man-made chemicals used in many industrial and consumer products to make the products resist heat, stains, water, and grease," according to the report. American manufacturers began phasing out products containing the contaminates in 2000. Studies have shown the chemicals may be associated with decreased fertility, some cancers and changes to the human immune system.

In May 2016, the EPA released a Lifetime Health Advisory for water with concentrations of PFOA and/or PFOS over 70. According to the report, the Mountain Home Air Force Base had concentrations of 77-105 ppt. A contaminated well was the source of the problematic water.

The well has since been flushed out and shut down and a new well is under construction. Bottled water was being used as the only form of drinking water for those in the control tower in the mean time, the report said.

The study also found that 90 military base installations as of Aug. 31 had groundwater that exceeded the EPA's level threshold. Mountain Home Air Force Base did not test positive for contaminated ground water.

Mountain Home Air Force Base representatives were unavailable for comment Friday.

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