08.24.18

Senator David Perdue Seeks Answers After Report Of Dangerous Lead Levels At Fort Benning

“Families are the backbone of the military. We owe it to our men and women in uniform to ensure their families have access to safe and comfortable housing on base.”

ATLANTA, GA – U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, seeks answers following a Reuters report on August 16 detailing lead poisoning and dangerous lead levels in housing on U.S. Army installations, including Georgia’s Fort Benning:

Friday, August 17 – Senator Perdue was joined by U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Mark Warner (D-VA) in sending a letter to Secretary of the Army Mark Esper raising concerns about the report.

“We write to you today concerned about recent reports of lead poisoning at a number of Army installations. The health and safety of our service members and their families are of the utmost importance,” the senators wrote. “We ask that you provide our offices with a detailed briefing as soon as possible outlining the immediate and long-term mitigation strategy to keep military families safe, provide medical treatment for those potentially or previously affected, make long-lasting repairs, and finally, provide legislative proposals or guidance on legislation needed to hold maintenance contractors accountable.”

Click here for full text of the letter.

Tuesday, August 21 – In a Senate Armed Services hearing, Senator Perdue submitted a question for the record regarding the report of dangerous lead levels at Fort Benning to Mr. Alex Beehler, nominee to be Assistant Secretary of the Army for Energy, Installations, and Environment. Here’s the full question:

“Mr. Beehler, a recent Reuters investigative report outlines multiple instances of lead paint poisoning occurring aboard Army installations across the country. The report specifically highlights occurrences at Fort Benning. Five out of five homes tested at Benning had hazardous levels of deteriorating lead paints. At least 31 small children tested high for lead at the Fort Benning hospital in a six-year period. From 2011 to 2016, blood tests from bases across the Army registered more than 1,050 small children who tested above the CDC’s elevated threshold. Many of our bases have on-base housing managed and operated largely through private partnerships and our families and children are being put at risk. If confirmed, what recommendations do you have for action to ensure our installations are safe for our families to live?”

Thursday, August 23 – Senators Perdue and Isakson, joined by a bipartisan group of senators, secured an amendment to the FY19 defense funding bill requiring the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to report on the monitoring and remediation of lead and verifiable compliance with lead exposure limits in military housing.

“Families are the backbone of the military. We owe it to our men and women in uniform to ensure their families have access to safe and comfortable housing on base, especially here on American soil,” said Senator Perdue. “I am concerned with the recent reports that military families and children have been exposed to dangerous lead conditions at Fort Benning and other installations across the country. We are actively working to get more information from the Army, so we can chart the best path forward and improve the safety of on-base housing at Fort Benning and beyond.”

Click here for full text of the amendment.

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Senator Perdue is the only Fortune 500 CEO in Congress and is serving his first term in the United States Senate, where he represents Georgia on the Armed Services, Banking, Budget, and Agriculture Committees.