VA is moving to use a thin layer of aluminum foil on its uniforms in order to protect them from lead.
The VA announced the decision Tuesday, citing a “compelling need” for a safe and effective replacement for lead paint.
It is the latest in a string of health and safety concerns over the agency’s use of lead-based paint.
Lead is a toxic metal that corrodes metals and can cause kidney and lung damage.
The use of aluminum as a replacement for paints has been a controversial issue.
The government has used it in some of its projects for decades, but the metal can leach out into the environment, and has been linked to lead poisoning.
The Pentagon has acknowledged using aluminum in the past, and the VA has used the metal in some parts of its facilities, including the Arlington National Cemetery.
The decision was first reported by Reuters.
A spokesman for the VA told Reuters the decision was made because of “the continued concern” over lead contamination.
A statement from the agency said aluminum has been used “for decades” as a coating for uniforms in the military, and that the agency would work with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to develop an improved coating.
Department of Veterans Affairs said it had not received any safety concerns related to lead paint from the use of the material.
It said in a statement that it was working to determine the best way to meet its needs and that it would make any final decision regarding the material “at a later date.”
The VA said the decision to use aluminum was in line with its mission to provide a safe, effective, and affordable uniform replacement for the use.
The agency said the aluminum could be used as a paint coating, a sealant, a corrosion inhibitor, or a structural adhesive.
It added that aluminum could also be used to protect against corrosion.