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Global Strike Command Reports Minot AFB ICBM PCB Survey Results

  • Published
  • By Air Force Global Strike Command Public Affairs
  • Air Force Global Strike Command

A team of bioenvironmental experts reported the polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) sampling results from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, Aug. 24, 2023, the third from an extensive sampling of active U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile bases to address specific cancer concerns raised by missile community members across related career fields.

The testing, conducted by the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine and the Defense Centers for Public Health (USAFSAM-DCPH), collected air and swipe samples from Launch Control Centers (LCCs) and Launch Control Equipment Buildings (LCEB). All air samples were non-detectable for PCBs. Of the 300 surface swipe samples, 30 found detectable levels of PCBs, two of which were above the threshold set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for mitigation, both in the same LCC.

General Thomas Bussiere, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, directed the base to take immediate steps to clean all surfaces with detectable levels of PCBs and to mitigate exposure in the single LCEB with PCB levels above EPA thresholds until clean-up is complete.

“Based on these survey results, I directed Twentieth Air Force to take immediate measures to mitigate exposure by our Airmen in all locations where PCBs were detected,” said Bussiere. “In addition, we will begin immediately cleaning PCBs in all LCCs and LCEBs where PCBs were detected, regardless of whether they met EPA standards for mitigation. Further rounds of testing for PCBs will take place in all these locations to help us measure the effectiveness of our mitigation efforts.”

Results for completed ground and water samplings from all three ICBM bases are still pending. When these results are finalized, the USAFSAM-DCPH team will analyze the results in aggregate to guide a comprehensive and holistic response including recommended actions in the future.

The USAFSAM-DCPH surface tests measure PCB levels in micrograms, or one-millionths of a gram. The EPA requires mitigation when PCB levels are detected above 10 micrograms in a 100 square centimeter sample, an area about the size of human palm.

“These results are just the first part of an extensive survey taking place at all our missile bases,” said Bussiere. “As more results come, we will provide updates to our Airmen and families, along with the resources they need to understand the results. My absolute priority is to provide Airmen with a safe and clean working environment, so they can carry out our nation’s most important missions.”

Bussiere added that he will continue to hold townhalls with currently serving Airmen and Guardians to provide more opportunities for two-way communication between medical and scientific experts and the missile community.

More information about PCBs:

More information about the Missile Community Cancer Study: