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PFAS Contamination

The U.S. Air Force has confirmed that per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals used at Cannon and Holloman Air Force Bases in New Mexico have contaminated nearby groundwater supplies. The two PFAS chemicals of greatest interest are perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). While the full set of risks associated with PFAS exposure are still being uncovered, I am concerned by recent studies linking these unregulated emerging contaminants to a number of adverse health effects.

It is clear that we urgently need to clean up this toxic mess and protect the health and safety of communities and business that have been impacted by PFAS contamination. I strongly believe that the Department of Defense has a responsibility to clean up after itself and an obligation to protect the public health of military communities like Clovis and Alamogordo.

I am committed to ensuring relief for New Mexicans who have been impacted by PFAS contamination.


Actions on PFAS to date 

  • Questioned Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan in a Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing regarding the Pentagon's response to PFAS contamination in groundwater around Air Force bases in New Mexico. View below:

  • Wrote to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue, asking that the department make payments to a neighboring dairy in Clovis, and any other affected dairies in the vicinity of Cannon Air Force Base as needed, to ensure fair compensation for losses due to PFAS contamination. You can find the full text of the letter here. 
  • Wrote to then Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, urging the Air Force to ensure PFAS contamination does not spread, the existing contamination is fully cleaned up, and alternative clean water supplies are provided to any impacted residents, including nearby farms and ranches. I also spoke with Secretary Wilson and met with her about these needs and requested comprehensive plume characterization. 



Additional Resources

CDC PFAS Fact Sheet

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry PFAS Health Information


EPA Recommendations for Addressing Groundwater Contaminated with PFOA and PFOS

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