For 3+ decades, dating back to the 1980's, the Department of Defense knew fluorochemicals could kill aquatic life and harm the environment. In 2011, the lawsuit says, the agency admitted the chemicals had created a “crisis,” contaminating groundwater at nearly 600 military sites nationwide. The chemicals are readily absorbed into the body and have been linked to several types of cancer. They have been shown to cause problems with the thyroid, immune system and other organs in lab animals over time.
The state says it was only recently notified of contamination around the New Mexico bases. In 2017, the Air Force submitted documents to the state saying it planned to sample soil and water for PFAS contamination, but state officials say they were not given data showing proof of contaminants until August.