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US Military Ordered ‘Clandestine Burning’ of Toxic Chemicals in Poor Neighborhoods

Contributing Author
March 31st, 2021
The Free Thought Project
Comments (20)

This article was originally published by The Free Thought Project. 

(CD) New research conducted by environmental justice scholars at Vermont’s Bennington College reveals that between 2016 and 2020, the U.S. military oversaw the “clandestine burning” of more than 20 million pounds of Aqueous Fire Fighting Foam in low-income communities around the country—even though there is no evidence that incineration destroys the toxic “forever chemicals” that make up the foam and are linked to a range of cancers, developmental disorders, immune dysfunction, and infertility.

“Weighing out its own liability against the health of these communities, the Pentagon struck the match.”
—David Bond, Bennington College

“In defiance of common sense and environmental expertise, the Department of Defense (DOD) has enlisted poor communities across the U.S. as unwilling test subjects in its toxic experiment with burning AFFF,” David Bond, associate director of the Center for the Advancement of Public Action at Bennington College, said (pdf) in a statement earlier this week.

Noting that scientists, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and even Pentagon officials have warned that “burning AFFF is an unproven method and dangerous mix that threatens the health of millions of Americans,” Bond characterized the decision of the military to dump huge stockpiles of AFFF and AFFF wastewater into “a handful of habitually negligent incinerators” as a “harebrained” operation as well as a manifestation of environmental injustice.

“In effect,” he added, “the Pentagon redistributed its AFFF problem into poor and working-class neighborhoods.”

After months of compiling and analyzing data—obtained last year from the Pentagon and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation—the team from Vermont launched an interactive website this week that publicizes for the first time the results of their investigation into all known shipments of AFFF to hazardous waste incinerators in the U.S.

The Bennington College researchers summarized their findings as follows:

  • Over 20 million pounds of the toxic firefighting foam AFFF and AFFF wastewater was incinerated between 2016-2020;
  • The U.S. military, the EPA, and state regulators all expressed serious concern about the ability of incineration to destroy the toxic chemicals in AFFF during this time;
  • Six incinerators were contracted to burn AFFF. Each is a habitual violator of environmental law. Since 2017, three of the incinerators were out of compliance with environmental law 100% of the time while the other incinerators were out of compliance with environmental law about 50% of the time;
  • 35% of known shipments of AFFF (7.7 million pounds) was burned at the Norlite Hazardous Waste Incinerator in Cohoes, New York, located within a densely populated urban area and less than 400 feet from a public housing complex. Norlite burned 2.47 million pounds of AFFF and 5.3 million pounds of AFFF wastewater, which likely was burned in violation of its Resource Conservation and Recovery Act permit;
  • 40% of the national stockpile of AFFF (5.5 million pounds) was sent to “fuel-blending” facilities where it was mixed into fuels for industrial use. It is not clear where the AFFF-laden fuel went next, although the DOD contract stipulates incineration should be the endpoint; and
  • 970,000 pounds of AFFF was burned overseas.

AFFF contains contaminants known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS); exposure to trace amounts of these synthetic chemicals is associated with a variety of detrimental health effects, and some have argued that PFAS are so risky that they not only endanger public health but threaten to undermine human reproduction writ large.

Jane Williams, chair of the Sierra Club’s National Clean Air team stressed: “We simply must stop burning PFAS compounds.”

“Attempting to burn these forever chemicals can generate highly toxic emissions which endanger the health of nearby communities,” she said. “Burning also releases gases which are powerful climate forcing chemicals.”

According to Williams, “EPA and DOD are both pursuing advanced technologies that can more effectively destroy these compounds without causing these unacceptable impacts.”

The pursuit of alternative disposal methods raises the question, posed by the researchers on their website: “If incineration is an unproven means of destroying these toxins, is burning AFFF solving the problem or simply emitting it into the poor communities that so often surround incinerators in the U.S.?”

According to the researchers, the military rushed to burn more than 20 million pounds of AFFF over the past four years because they feared the substance “would be classified as a toxic chemical (and with that designation, would require new safeguards and introduce new liability).”

In a column published Thursday in The Guardian, Bond explained:

While some states file suit against the manufactures of AFFF, the fingerprints of the U.S. Armed Forces are all over the scene of the crime. When federal scientists moved to publish a comprehensive review of the toxic chemistry of AFFF in 2018, DOD officials called that science “a public relations nightmare” and tried to suppress the findings.

Beyond damning internal emails, the military is still in possession of a tremendous amount of AFFF. As the EPA and states around the U.S. begin to designate AFFF a hazardous substance, the military’s stockpiles of AFFF are starting to add up to an astronomical liability on the military’s balance sheet. Perhaps thinking the Trump administration presented an opportune moment, the Pentagon decided to torch their AFFF problem in 2016.

Despite AFFF’s extraordinary resistance to fire, incineration quietly became the military’s preferred method to handle AFFF. “We knew that this would be a costly endeavor, since it meant we’d be burning something that was engineered to put out fires,” Steve Schneider, chief of Hazardous Disposal for the logistics wing of DOD, said in 2017 as the operation got underway…

As the military was sending AFFF to incinerators around the country, the EPA, state regulators, and university scientists all warned that subjecting AFFF to extremely high temperatures would likely conjure up a witches brew of fluorinated toxins, that existing smokestack technologies would be insufficient to monitor poisonous emissions let alone capture them, and that dangerous chemicals might rain down on surrounding neighborhoods. Weighing out its own liability against the health of these communities, the Pentagon struck the match.

Judith Enck, the former EPA regional administrator, said the data compiled by the Bennington College team demonstrate that “we have a national problem on our hands.”

“Congress needs to throw cold water on the Pentagon’s mad dash to burn toxic firefighting foam. There is no evidence that incineration destroys AFFF,” she added, calling for “a national ban on burning these forever chemicals.”



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    Author: Contributing Author
    Date: March 31st, 2021

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    1. Darth Skippy says:

      You don’t say any mean words.

      They vacuum babies in the Brownsvilles.

    2. SlackMavo says:

      Burning fire fighting foam seems no more oxymoronic than showing up at a polling place to take part in a selection.

      Stay the course Norsemen.

    3. Andrea.Iravani. says:

      Then logic would dictate that fire fighters and residents in communities where AAAFs have been used to put out fires also have been exposed to carcinogens. If burning AAAFs creates carcinogens, and AAAFs are used to put out fires, then it will always produce carcinogens when used as instructed. All fires produce carcinogens. CO is one of the most hazardous carcinogens that there is.

      Andrea Iravani

    4. Andrea.Iravani. says:

      Paul Craig Roberts wrote today that Derek Chauvin’s show trial will bring an end to law and order. We have not had law and order in America since 1993, just sayin! The deregulation period during the Clinton administration led to the financial fraud that was the motive for 9/11, Seven false flag wars, and $21 trillion vanishing from the Pentagon. Deregulation increased under Trump which led to the “covid-19” scamdemic, lock-downs, medical fraud, vaccine fraud, contact tracing whoch as I have been saying since it started is just a lame excuse to spy and steal data, medical tyranny through vaccine tranaports now occuring under Biden.

      Law and order would be nice for a change!

      Andrea Iravani

    5. Andrea.Iravani. says:

      Since the psychopaths that are using vault7 technology, and mob excess deterent using silent audio on me, and that are spying on me are totally mentally incompetent, I thought that I would be gracious enough to inform you that you are totally wasting your time and technology by targeting me, and are also building a consensus to enslave you, your family, and descendents by using this technology on me since it would not be used by you, unless you explicitly approve of it being used on people.

      The question is, why are you targetting me rather than Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Jack Dorsey, Peter Thiel, Michael Milken, Warren Buffett, George Sorros, Jerome Powell, Janet Yellen, Antony Blinken, Lloyd Austin, the Biden and the rest of his administration, and congress?

      You are wasting your time by targetting me. I am not the person that is setting policy, has national security secrets, or a tremendous amount of wealth. If any one person is setting policy, it is Bill Gates, not me.

      Andrea Iravani

      • Reality says:

        Your paranoia delusions is getting the best of you. Please seek help – nobody is spying on you, simply put – you are not a important person of interest.

        If you were important – you would of been silenced a long, long, long time ago – that is how their game is played and you failed to be a part of their criteria.

        Enough of your habitual nonsense – nobody cares – treat your mental illness before it completely consumes you.

        • Andrea.Iravani. says:

          You are exceptionally stupid, insane, corrupt, or any combination of those deficits to have said that. Only a total buffoon would say what you just said.

          Andrea Iravani

        • Andrea.Iravani. says:

          Nobody will admit that they are spying on me is more like it, but Tyler Durden did confess that he has been listenning to me on The Burning Platform, which was not to be confused with listening to what I am saying in the comments section, but eavesdropping.

          Yeah, nobody is spying on me, except InfraGard. We have 17 spy agencies that admit that they are spying on Americans, and even admit that they are spying on white Christians, but refuse to name the people that they are spying on. Deny and lie. SOP for the scumbag psychopaths in InfraGard that should spend the rest of their lives in prison for high crimes and treason. They refuse to admit it, because there it is totally illegal, which is why they use secret courts, so that people cannot defend themselves since the FISA warrants are all based on lies, or would not meet any true standard of probable cause.

          Andrea Iravani

        • Anonymous says:

          Everyone is spied on. Including you. Every email, text, search etc. How “important” you are depends on what the data mining software finds. She isn’t paranoid. You are naive.

    6. Darth Skippy says:

      I thought it was interesting, the way you can find a need and make an invention.

      For an extra layer of irony, I was wondering whether they burnt fluorine, in favor of the more-environmental recipe.

    7. TharSheBlows says:

      ALL US MIlitary Bases and Airforce bases are all toxic waste dumps, run by subpar low IQ humanoids that have no morals. They have no stake in the matter since they just destroy the environment then move onto another base. They pocket Superfund monies then dump more toxics into the environment. Military bases also massively lie on EIS Environmental impact statement and back date data to his incompatibility by their incompatible missions on base.
      You want to freak out your local Military base. Just for a FOIA request for their last Environments Impact Statement and full study, for their current mission they advertise on their website. They are not reporting truthfully all of their hazards, and are not compatible nor compliant with your community.

      • Genius says:

        I remember when I was in northern cali for a while in 2011 reading in the paper that the navy got permission to kill up to 63 MILLION marine animals! WTF? And the river that goes under Las Vegas is totally contaminated from the nuke test site north of there. SW Utah was blanketed by fallout for years. Stay far far away from any military bases!

    8. Festus says:

      In 1991 I was doing a 6 month active duty tour in the was in the fall and winter months on a regular Army post.They were still using coal for heating all the buildings. One day I was watching the civilian workers using a portable conveyor to fill the storage area for one of the buildings.They were unloading coal, 2 or 3 inch chunks from a large truck, I noticed along with the coal there were small little square things about 1 inch square of a light tan color equally mixed in with the coal. That kinda raised a red flag in my brain,I have wondered to this day what else they were getting rid of,sneaking it in with the coal.

    9. Truth says:

      …..but these fuckers are on our side right?…🙄

      • Anonymous says:

        It would appear they are more domestic enemies than defenders.

        They were part of the scumbag crew that false flagged us on 9/11. Then, they decided to wage illegal, aggressive war on 7 countries in 5 years — a process still ongoing. Adding insult to injury, they flew over 300 tons of cash into a war zone and promptly disappeared it.

        According to Mark Skidmore and Catherine Austin Fitts, they have stolen trillions from us and the amount could be as high as 90 trillion. Their budgets are now “secret” so we can’t really tell what they are up to and what they have stolen.

        To bad some of bloody Gina’s friends can’t work on the joint chiefs for a while. It would be nice to get the bottom of this national and international crime spree.

      • Darth Skippy says:

        There was a tradition against standing armies, though we are hardly compatible and rarely do anything for ourselves.

    10. Newkidontheblock says:

      Even the military is evil.

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