Okinawa’s Concern Over PFAS Reaches the U.S. Senate

While concerns over toxic chemicals PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances) have been spreading in the United States, the Federal Government, including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense, appear reluctant to take action.

Responding to such concerns, however, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing titled “Examining the federal response to the risks associated with per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)” on March 28, 2019.

Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture of Japan, also faces PFAS pollution. As in the case of many affected communities in the U.S., U.S. military bases in the prefecture have been regarded as the primary source of PFAS contamination.

Yara Hija-ga (spring) , one of the PFAS contaminated sites in Kadena town. 1700ng/L (PFOS+PFOA) were detected in this spring. Survey results point to Kadena Air Base as the most likely source of contamination. Masami Kawamura, Director, the Informed-Public Project

The Informed-Public Project (IPP) has been working on PFAS issues in Okinawa, collaborating with activists and advocates of the United States. And our U.S. colleagues encouraged me to submit a statement to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works as the Committee held this important hearing.

I am glad and thankful that, with the help of Mrs. Kristen Mello, co-founder of Westfield Residents Advocating For Themselves, our statement reached Senator Ed Markey, one of the committee members, and the committee.

According to the hearing’s record, all the statements submitted by concerned citizens and experts including IPP have now become part of the committee’s official records.

In our statement, we request the committee to

1) Discuss and review the issue of PFAS contamination on the U.S. military’s bases overseas and affected local communities around the bases;
2) Hold the U.S. Military accountable for PFAS contamination on Okinawa by encouraging the U.S. Military to be more forthcoming with information and by collaborating with the Okinawa Prefectural Government to conduct surveys on the bases;
3) Recognize that the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) violates the environment and human rights of the people of Okinawa.

We hope our statement encourages U.S. Congress to pay attention to and take action regarding U.S. military-related PFAS issues in Okinawa and other parts of the world.

Here is IPP’s statement

March 24, 2019

The Honorable John Barrasso
Chairman, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
307 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20150

The Honorable Thomas R. Carper
Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
513 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Barrasso and Ranking Member Carper,

As the Director of the Informed-Public Project (IPP) in Okinawa, Japan, which has been working on the issues of environmental contamination related to the U.S. military bases in Okinawa, I write to inform you of the concerning situation of PFAS contamination in Okinawa and respectfully request you to take proper action.

PFAS Contamination on Okinawa
Okinawa, only 0.6% of Japan’s total area, has 70 % of the US military bases in Japan concentrated on its small islands. US bases occupy 15% of the entire area of Okinawa Island (the main island of Okinawa). The disproportionate concentration of US bases and their proximity to local communities have adversely affected the communities in various ways, and the issue of PFAS contamination is one of the most serious and urgent matters that call for the full attention of the US Government.

On Okinawa Island, PFOS/PFOA have been detected around two U.S. bases, Kadena Air Base (KAB) and Marine Corps Air Station Futenma (MCAS Futenma). According to surveys conducted by Okinawa Prefecture, it is highly likely that the two US bases have caused PFAS contamination. A local expert’s analysis of the survey data has also indicated that PFAS contamination should have occurred within the bases and PFOS/PFOA then would have seeped into water sources outside the bases.

A series of investigations by Jon Mitchell (correspondent reporter of Okinawa Times) using FOIA has revealed that KAB conducted on-site surveys on PFOS contamination in 2014, 2016 and 2017 (at 2 “hold ponds” and 16 “foam holding tanks”). It has also shown that US Military conducted surveys at MCAS Futenma in 2016 and PFOS (27,000 ng/L) and PFOA (1,800 ng/L) were detected from samples of wastewater from a fire pit training site on the base.
All the survey data available and analyses of them point to KAB and MCAS Futenma as the most likely sources of PFAS contamination on Okinawa.

Our Concern: PFOS/PFOA Affecting Sources of Drinking Water and Seeping into Agricultural Fields
I am very concerned that PFOS/PFOA have been detected in some of the sources of drinking water around KAB. For example, according to the recent report by the Okinawa Prefectural Enterprise Bureau (OPEB), the agency in charge of safeguarding drinking water, PFOS/PFOA (971ng/L) were detected in the Dakujyaku river in February 2019. (See this site In response, OPEB has installed a carbon filtration system at the Chatan Water Treatment Plant to remove PFOS/PFOA from water coming from the sources around KAB, and it has been monitoring the levels of PFOS/PFOA at the sources. Despite OPEB’s efforts, however, the issue of PFAS contamination at the water sources around KAB remains unresolved.

It should be emphasized that the Chatan Water Treatment Plant provides drinking water for US bases in Okinawa via local municipalities. In fact, in light of the issue of PFAS contamination becoming public, KAB released an announcement to its community on January 27, 2016. The announcement, however, downplayed the seriousness of the issue. (See this site:

I am also very concerned that PFOS/PFOA have been detected in natural springs around MCAS Futenma and local community members have long used water from the springs, not as drinking water but for other purposes including growing agricultural products and domestic gardening. According to the most recent report by the Environmental Preservation Division at the Department of Environmental Affairs of the Okinawa Prefectural Government, the department in charge of safeguarding water sources other than those of drinking water, PFOS/PFOA (2,000 ng/L) were detected in the Chunnagaa spring in the summer of 2018. (See this site The water from this particular spring is used for domestic gardening, which certainly poses a danger to the health and safety of the local communities. While the Department of Environmental Affairs conducts surveys twice a year (summer and winter), the issue of PFAS contamination at MCAS Futenma remains unresolved.

Our Concern: US Military Evading Its Responsibility
Despite all the survey data available and analyses of them point to the US bases as the sources of PFAS contamination, the US Military has not taken proper action. Instead, in my view, it has evaded its responsibility.

Between 2016 and 2018, the Okinawa Prefectural Enterprise Bureau held four meetings with KAB and the Okinawa Defense Bureau (Japanese Government) with an aim to discuss the issues of PFOS/PFOA related to KAB. During the meetings, however, KAB did not mention its on-site surveys in 2014, 2016 and 2017 (at 2 “hold ponds” and 16 “foam holding tanks”) and their concerning results. In fact, at no point, the US Military informed the Prefectural Government and the people of Okinawa that the military conducted on-site surveys regarding PFAS contamination.

In 2016, the US Military even declined the Environmental Preservation Division’s request for a meeting to discuss the issues of PFAS contamination related to MCAS Futenma. As IPP’s investigation using the Japanese FOIA has revealed, the Marine Corps Installations Pacific replied to the Environmental Preservation Division that “Since PFOS is not a regulated substance in the US and Japan, therefore there is no point in responding to additional questions or holding a meeting for which there are no established standards nor regulations.” The US Military’s declination was irresponsible, and its reply was contrary to the fact that DOD formally recognized PFOS/PFOA as “Emerging Contaminants” in 2009.

Moreover, the US Military has rejected the requests by the Government of Japan and Okinawa Prefectural Government to conduct surveys regarding PFOS/PFOA on the bases. The Department of Defense’s report Addressing Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), which was issued in March 2018 as an official response to the House Report 115-200, did not even include these test results from KAB and MCAS Futenma although it addressed test results from other US bases overseas.

Our struggle and Obstacles
The US Military has not been forthcoming with information on PFOS/PFOA on KAB and MCAS Futenma. It has not allowed the Okinawa Prefectural Government or the Japanese Government to carry out surveys on the bases. As a result, no comprehensive study and no sufficient clean-up of PFAS contamination have been carried out on Okinawa. No effective measure has been set up or implemented to safeguard the future of Okinawa. All the while, members of the communities, including members of US bases on Okinawa, are constantly exposed to the danger of PFOS/PFAS.

IPP and community members of Okinawa have been struggling to change this situation. We have spent so much time and energy to try to address the issue of PFAS contamination and protect ourselves and our environment. So far, we have made little progress. The US military remains indifferent to our concerns, and the way the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the US and Japanese Governments has been interpreted and implemented remain obstacles to our struggle.

We are also concerned that the February 2019 (delayed) action of the US Environment Protection Agency addressing PFAS contamination is not enough. As in most of the states in the United States, the Okinawa Prefectural Government has used the EPA’s Health Advisories as its guidelines and standards to evaluate the safety and quality of water contaminated by PFOS/PFOA. We believe that more stringent safety standards and measures have to be adopted.

Our Requests
It is imperative that proper action has to be taken in Okinawa and Japan and in the US. I thus wrote a letter of request to the Okinawa Prefectural Government, requesting them to review its policies on the issues of PFOS/PFOA contamination. I am now turning to the Senate Committee and respectfully request the Committee as follows:

1) Discuss and review the issue of PFAS contamination on the US military’s bases overseas and affected local communities around the bases;

2) Hold the U.S. Military accountable for the issue of PFAS contamination on Okinawa by encouraging the US Military to be more forthcoming with information and by collaborating with the Okinawa Prefectural Government to conduct surveys on the bases;

3) Recognize that the SOFA violates the environment and human rights of the people of Okinawa.

Thank you for your time and attention to the issue of PFAS contamination on Okinawa.

Respectfully submitted,

Dr. Masami Kawamura
The Informed-Public Project,
Okinawa, Japan




The Informed-Public Projectは沖縄県内で、嘉手納飛行場、普天間飛行場での米軍基地由来と考えられる有機フッ素化合物についての監視・調査活動・政策提言を行ってきました。


米国では毒性物質・疾病登録庁(Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, ATSDR)の「パーフルオロアルキル基の毒性プロファイル:パブリック・コメントのための草案 (Toxicological Profile for Perfluoroalkyls: Draft for Public Comment)」(以下、ATSDRレポート)が2018年6月20日に発表されました。このレポートの発表でEPAの生涯勧告値に頼ることの疑念が科学者、市民グループから示されています。






沖縄県知事 翁長 雄志殿
沖縄県企業局長 金城 武殿
沖縄県環境部長 大浜 浩志殿
沖縄県保健医療部長 砂川 靖殿
沖縄県企画部長 川満 誠一殿
沖縄県知事公室長 池田 竹州殿

The Informed-Public Project
代表 河村 雅美


 インフォームド・パブリック・プロジェクト(The Informed-Public Project, IPP)は、環境、主に米軍基地に由来する汚染問題について調査・監視・政策提言をする団体です。これまで米軍基地由来と考えられる有機フッ素化合物のPFOS/PFOA汚染の問題に取り組んできました。


 米国の毒性物質・疾病登録庁(Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 米国保健福祉省の一部局、以下ATSDR)は「パーフルオロアルキル基の毒性プロファイル:パブリック・コメントのための草案 (Toxicological Profile for Perfluoroalkyls: Draft for Public Comment)」(以下、ATSDRレポート)を2018年6月20日に発表しました[1]。この手紙は、ATSDRレポートと、それをめぐる米国の動きを鑑み、沖縄県が早急に現在の政策を見直し、適切な措置を講ずることを促すための警告的な提言です。






 ATSDRレポートは、14種類のパーフルオロアルキル基と健康への影響についてのこれまでの研究を検証した852ページのレポートで、専門家によりまとめられ、同領域の専門家の検証(peer review)を経て公表されています。パブリック・コメントを7月23日まで受け付け、重大な変更が必要な場合は再度の専門家の検証を経て、最終版がリリースされます[11]

 ATSDRレポートの中では、4種類の有機フッ素化合物の最小リスクレベル(Minimal Risk Levels, MRLs)が算出され[13]、PFOS/PFOAのEPAの生涯勧告値の7-10倍以上低い数字が算出されていると報道されています[14]。それは、従来、発生への影響単独で算出されたものではなく、免疫への影響を考慮にいれたことによるものであることがATSDRのリリースに述べられています。そのリリースでは、ATSDRのMRLsとEPAの生涯勧告値は目的や用いる状況が異なること、MRLsが規制値を規定するもではないことも述べられています[15]。しかし、専門家がATSDRのレポートの数値を、EPAの生涯勧告値飲料水のレベルに換算するとPFOAは11ppt, PFOSは7pptという数値が算出されており、このATSDRレポートの発表を機に、これまでのEPAの生涯勧告値を用い続けることには専門家から警鐘が鳴らされています[16]
 このような状況を鑑みると、沖縄県が、現在のEPAの生涯勧告値の値に依拠し続けることは検討するべき時にあるといえます。2015年には北谷浄水場の浄水がEPAの生涯勧告値を超える82ppt, 120pptを計測したこともあります。沖縄県は、連邦レベルや日本政府の対応を待つよりも、米国で実際に汚染問題が発生している自治体が採用する、現実的な政策や、各コミュニティの活動や政策提言[17]を参照として対策をたてていくことが妥当であり、最新の研究結果を採用していくことが必要であると考えます。



  1. 汚染の対処の経験があり、先進的な対策をとる米国の自治体の政策を参照とし、安全な水の供給のための対策を検討すること(企業局、環境部、保健医療部)

 北谷浄水場の浄水は2018年のPFOS/PFOAの合計最高値は63ng/L, 2018年度の平均は41ng/Lです[18]。ATSDRレポートを踏まえ、安全な水の供給のための対策、市民への対応を早急に検討することを要請します。上述のように、米国で汚染問題が発生している地域の現実的な対処を参照とすることを強く提唱します。米国バーモント州健康部では飲料水でPFOA、PFOS、PFHxS、PFHpA、PFNAの5種のPFAS(ペルフルオロアルキル化合物)の合計が20pptを超えないことに加え、曝露を最小限にするため、料理や歯磨き、粉ミルク等にも用いないように提唱しています[19]

  1. PFOS/PFOAの検出地における対応を、市町村や自治会と再考すること(環境部、保健医療部、企画部)


  1. 保健医療部は有機フッ素化合物の健康への影響について検証し、健康調査等、公衆衛生的な対策の検討を開始すること。

 米軍の泡消火剤は1970年代から使用されており、県民の長期的な曝露の影響等が懸念されます。また、上述のとおり北谷浄水場の浄水がEPAの生涯勧告値、82ppt, 120pptを計測したこともありました。ATSDRレポートでレビューされている調査報告や、米国で実施されている健康調査のレポート[23]などを参考にし、公衆衛生的アプローチを検討することを要請します。

  1. 県庁内で有機フッ素化合物に対する横の連携を築き、知見を蓄積すること。


  1. PFOS/PFOA汚染問題に特化した発信を行い、日本政府の積極的な対処を求めること。




[1]Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry ”Toxicological Profile for Perfluoroalkyls Draft for Public Comment”.

[2]ATSDRレポート, p.25による。詳細はATSDRのサイトを参照のこと。 (2018年7月5日アクセス)。

[3]沖縄県企業局HP「企業局における有機フッ素化合物の検出状況について」  (2018年7月5日アクセス)。

[4]沖縄県環境保全部HPで公表されている。最新版は「平成29年度有機フッ素化合物環境中実態調査の冬季結果報告について」 (2018年7月5日アクセス)。
日本政府とのやりとりの文書は環境政策課のHPで公表されている。「宜野湾市湧水において検出された有機フッ素化合物の対策等についての沖縄防衛局からの回答」 (2018年7月5日アクセス)。

[5]沖縄県環境衛生研究所HPで公表されている。塩川敦司・玉城不二美「沖縄島の河川及び海域における有機フッ素化合物の環境汚染調査」『沖縄県衛生環境研究所所報』第51号(2017) (2018年7月5日アクセス)。

[6]EPAのPFOS/PFOAを含むペルフルオロアルキル化合物(PFAS)についての政策については”Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)”を参照。年7月5日アクセス)。環境省は以下のファクトシートを参照。「国内等の動向について(PFOS)」, 「[18]ペルフルオロオクタン酸及びその塩」(PFOA)。 (2018年7月5日アクセス)。

[7]例えば、バーモント州はPFOA、PFOSを含む5種類のペルフルオロアルキル化合物(PFAS)の合計値が20pptを超えないことを推奨している。Vermont Department of Health, “Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Drinking Water.”年7月5日アクセス)。ニュージャージー州は最大許容濃度(Maximum Contaminant Level, MCL)としてPFOAを14ppt、PFNAを13ppt に設定する案を策定。State of New Jersey, Department of Environmental Protection , News Release,”Christie Administration Takes Action to Enhance Protection of New Jersey’s Drinking Water”, November 1, 2017, (2018年7月5日アクセス)。ニューハンプシャーはPFOS、PFOAの地下水の基準を設定している。New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Release, “NHDES Establishes Ambient Groundwater Quality Standard for Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate(PFOS)”, May 31, 2016,年7月5日アクセス)。ATSDRレポート、p.646も参照。
米国のNGO、National Resources Defense Council (NRDC)は、複数の汚染地域を抱えるニューヨーク州の健康部委員会への要望書(”Re: Setting a Maximum Contaminant Level for Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFOS)”)を提出し、PFOSとPFOAの合計値を4-10pptに設定することを推奨している。NRDC Releases Report on PFOA, Urging Prompt Regulation, February 27, 2018,年7月5日アクセス)。

[8]Xindi C. Hu et al., *Detection of Poly- and Perfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in U.S. Drinking Water Linked to Industrial Sites, Military Fire Training Areas, and Wastewater Treatment Plants”  Environ. Sci. Technol. Lett., 3, 10, 344-350, (2016), (2018年7月5日アクセス) 。有機フッ素化合物の問題に取り組む環境団体Environment Working Groupによる米国の飲料水汚染の状態を示したインタラクティブマップ等の記事も参照されたい。”Mapping a Contamination Crisis: PFCs Pollute Tap Water for 15 Million People, Dozens of Industrial Sites”, June 8, 2017, (2018年7月5日アクセス) 。

[9]米軍基地由来のPFOS/PFOA汚染に関しては別途情報をまとめる予定である。ここでは参考としてTara Copp, ”DoD: At least 126 bases report water contaminants linked to cancer, birth defects”, Military Times,April 26, 2018, (2018年7月5日アクセス)。

[10]例えばPFOA汚染被害を起こしたデュポンへの70000人の集団訴訟に勝訴したRob Billot 弁護士の記事を参照。Nathaniel Rich, ”The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare”, The New York Times, January 6, 2016, (2018年7月5日アクセス)。

[11]ATSDR ”PFAs Toxicological Profile Key messages June, 2018” (2018年7月6日アクセス)。

[12]この事実はPoliticoの調査報道により明らかになった。Annie Snider, “White House, EPA headed off chemical pollution study”, Politico, May 14, 2018,  ( (2018年7月5日アクセス)。


[14]Ellen Knickmeyer, “Report finds industrial chemicals more toxic than thought”, AP News, Jun. 20, 2018,年7月5日アクセス) , Stephanie Ebbs and DR. Karine Tawagi, “Threshold for harmful chemicals in drinking water lower than thought: Study”, ABC News,June 21, 2018 ,年7月5日アクセス)。

[15]ATSDR”PFAs Toxicological Profile Key messages June, 2018”, (2018年7月6日アクセス)

[16]Silent Spring Instituteの研究者Laurel Schaiderにより算出。Dr.Schaiderは注8のXindi C.Hu論文の共著者である。Cheryl Hogue,“U.S. report proposes lower safe level for perfluorochemical exposure:ATSDR daily dose numbers for PFOS and PFOA are one-tenth those of EPA”,Chemical & Engineering News, June 22, 2018 | Vol.96, Issue 26 , , (2018年7月6日アクセス); Garret Ellison, “Blocked report drops PFAS safety level into single digits”, Mlive, June 21,  (2018年7月5日アクセス); Evan Bevins, “Brooks: PFAS advisory levels must drop: Doctor from C8 study pleased with release of federal report”, News and Sentinel, June 22, 2018. (2018年7月5日アクセス)。

[17]PFAS問題に取り組む地域のグループのネットワークNational PFAS Contamination Coalitionのウェブサイト参照。年7月5日アクセス)。

[18]2018年7月6日更新のデータ。 (2018年7月6日アクセス)。

[19]バーモント州健康局の”What is the Health Department’s advice for PFAS in drinking water?” (2018年7月5日アクセス)。


[21]バーモント州農業・食品・市場局”Frequently Asked Questions About Gardening, Commercial Produce and PFOA”,  April 22, 2016, (2018年7月5日アクセス)。


[23]血液調査や健康調査については、元ピーズ空軍基地の泡消火剤で飲料水が汚染されたニューハンプシャーの調査が参考になる。Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, “Feasibility Assessment for Epidemiological Studies at Pease International Tradeport, Portsmouth, New Hampshire”, November 2017. (2018年7月3日アクセス); State of New Hampshire, Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health Services, “Pease PFC Blood Testing Program: April 2015-October 2015”, June 16, 2016, ( 2018年7月3日アクセス)

[24]経済協力開発機構(Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD)の有機フッ素化合物のポータルによると4730種類の有機フッ素化合物が確認されている。
OECD, ENV/JM/MONO(2018)7, ”Environment Directorate Joint Meeting of the Chemicals Committee and the Working Party on Chemicals, Pesticides and Biotechnology: Toward a  New Comprehensive Global Database of Per- and  Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs):
Summary Report on Updating the OECD 2007 List of Per- and Polyfluroalkyl Substances(PFAS) ,  Series on Risk Management No.39”, (May, 4, 2018) 2018年7月3日アクセス)
Sharon Learner, “PFOA AND PFOS are only the Best-Known Members of a very Dangerous Class of Chemicals”, The Intercept, February 10, (2018年7月5日アクセス)。

[25]The Intercept のSharon Learner記者による一連の調査報道を参照されたい。特にSharon Learner,“The U.S. Military is Spending Millions to Replace Toxic Firefighting Foam with Toxic Firefighting Foam”, The Intercept, Feburuary 10, 2018 (2018年7月5日アクセス)。


北中城村長 新垣邦夫
中城村長 浜田 京介
宜野湾市長 佐喜眞 淳
浦添市長 松本 哲治
沖縄市長 桑江 朝千夫
北谷町長 野国 昌春
那覇市長 城間 幹子

沖縄県議会議長 新里 米吉
沖縄県議会 総務企画委員会委員長 渡久地修
沖縄県議会 土木環境委員会委員長 新垣清涼
沖縄県議会 文教厚生委員会委員長 狩俣信子
沖縄県議会 米軍基地関係特別委員会委員長 仲宗根悟

宜野湾市喜友名自治会長 知念 参雄
宜野湾市自治会長 花城 君子

宜野湾市軍用地等地主会 又吉 信一
一般社団法人沖縄県軍用地等地主会連合会 眞喜志 康明

沖縄防衛局長 中嶋 浩一郎
外務省特命全権大使(沖縄担当)川村 裕

環境大臣 中川雅治
厚生労働大臣 加藤 勝信

※送付した文書に間違いがありましたので訂正したものをこちらにアップしています。 ADSTDRレポートに関する提言要請文 PDF –
The Informed-Public Project 代表 河村 雅美