In this June 7, 2018, file photo, PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, foam gathers at the the Van Etten Creek dam in Oscoda Township, Mich., near Wurtsmith Air Force Base.

The Defense Department has dragged its feet on protecting service personnel from “forever chemicals” at military installations and isn’t doing enough to track health effects from exposure to the toxic compounds, according to an internal audit.

Officials have taken steps to find and clean groundwater contaminated with firefighting foam containing PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, the department’s inspector general found. But its recently released report said the Pentagon has fallen short on dealing with other sources of the chemicals as its rules require.

It also found that despite plans to test military firefighters’ blood for PFAS this year as required by Congress, officials have no plan for tracking and analyzing results on a department-wide basis.

The department “is missing an opportunity to capture comprehensive PFAS exposure data for DoD firefighters to be used for risk management, including future studies to assess significant long‑term health effects relating to PFAS,” according to the audit, which is dated July 22.

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