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PFAS Contaminated Water

PFAS drinking water contamination lawsuitsRecent studies have shown a link between exposure to a harmful class of chemicals called PFAS and the development of various serious health concerns, including many types of cancer. What makes PFAS especially concerning, however, is the fact that these dangerous chemicals are found in high concentrations throughout everyday life, including in drinking water. In part, the reason why PFAS are found in drinking water is that the U.S. government used a particular type of fire-fighting foam that caused PFAS on military bases across the country. The PFAS contained in these foams seeps into the soil, contaminating the area’s drinking water.

If you are a firefighter or live near a United States military base and developed cancer or other PFAS-related illness, your condition may have been caused by dangerous chemicals you did not know you were being exposed to. Our mass tort lawyers at Console & Associates, P.C., is investigating claims of cancer and other illnesses related to PFAS exposure among firefighters and those who lived, worked, or were stationed at contaminated military bases. We are providing free consultations to anyone who believes they were exposed to PFAS in hopes of informing them of their legal options to recover financial compensation for everything they’ve been through.

What Are PFAS?

PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used in the industrial and manufacturing industries since the 1940s. While there are thousands of different PFAS, one common characteristic of all PFAS is that they break down very slowly. Because of this, concentrations of PFAS tend to build up in the human body over time, especially among those who are exposed to high levels of the chemical.

Where Are PFAS Found?

PFAS are commonly used in the United States in a wide range of industrial applications. Thus, these chemicals are regularly found in:

  • Drinking water,
  • Soil,
  • Food,
  • Packaging products,
  • Personal care products,
  • Varnishes and sealants,
  • Carpet-care products,
  • Fabrics,
  • Non-stick cookware,
  • Fire extinguishing foam, and
  • Landfills.

As a result of the widespread use of PFAS over the past half-century, studies by the Centers for Disease Control indicate that most people in the United States have been exposed to PFAS. While most people experience relatively low levels of exposure, the chemicals can build up in the bodies of those who are more frequently around the chemicals. One of the groups of individuals who experience the highest level of exposure to PFAS is firefighters due to the chemical’s presence in fire-fighting foams. Another group that has suffered unexpectedly high levels of exposure to PFAS are service members stationed at military bases where PFAS has been found in the water supply.

Why Are PFAS Being Found in the Water Supply of U.S. Military Bases?

The United States government has been using fire-fighting foam on military bases since the 1960s. These fire-fighting foams are sprayed on top of a fire, suppressing the flames and preventing the fire from re-igniting. However, the widespread use of fire extinguishing foams on U.S. military bases has led to the contamination of millions of acres of land. In fact, according to a 2003 study by the Government Accountability Office suggests that there are more than 2,300 contaminated sites across the country, covering more than 15 million acres of land.

However, due to the health risks of PFAS, the United States government is no longer using fire-fighting foam that contains PFAS. Instead, the Department of Defense is generally using safer alternatives. However, the Department admits that it still uses PFAS-containing foam in emergency situations but that it immediately cleans up the affected area so that the PFAS do not seep into the soil and contaminate the environment.

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Is the Government Remediating Existing PFAS Contaminated Sites?

Yes, the Department of Defense has implemented a process known as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability; however, according to the Department’s own studies, this is a time-consuming process that is expected to take years to complete. In the meantime, those living in areas previously exposed to PFAS may be at an increased risk of exposure to these harmful chemicals.

What Are the Harms of PFAS?

“In the late 2000s, researchers learned that exposure to some PFAS can be harmful to human health…”
While PFAS were broadly used for decades until recently, in the late 2000s, researchers learned that exposure to some PFAS can be harmful to human health. While not every PFAS presents a risk to humans, the two most commonly used PFAS can lead to serious conditions, especially in higher concentrations. The two most common PFAS include PFOA and PFOS. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there is no “safe” level of PFOA or PFOS.

Exposure to harmful PFAS can lead to a host of serious and irreversible health conditions, including:

  • Thyroid problems,
  • Liver damage,
  • Bladder cancer,
  • Breast cancer,
  • Kidney cancer,
  • Leukemia,
  • Lymphoma,
  • Neuroendocrine tumors,
  • Pancreatic cancer,
  • Prostate cancer,
  • Testicular cancer, and
  • Immunodeficiencies.

Who Is Most at Risk for Exposure to PFAS?

While anyone can experience severe health problems due to PFAS exposure, certain groups of individuals are at a higher risk than others for a variety of reasons. Below are a few of those people who are at the greatest risk of developing PFAS-related conditions:

Those Living Near Contaminated Military Bases

Due to the U.S. government’s widespread use of PFAS-containing foam to put out fires on bases across the United States, thousands of people are unknowingly living in contaminated sites. The PFAS from these fire-fighting foams seep into the soil and then into the drinking water. As individuals who live near contaminated military bases continue to consume the contaminated water, the levels of PFAS in their bodies increase, putting them at a greater risk of developing cancer and other serious health conditions.

Fetuses

Unborn babies are at an especially high risk for PFAS exposure because the chemicals can build up quickly in their bodies. Fetuses are exposed to these chemicals in utero through their mothers’ bodies, such as through drinking water or household supplies. Some of the most notable effects of PFAS exposure in fetuses include:

  • Low birth weight,
  • Developmental delays,
  • Accelerated puberty, and
  • Skeletal deformations.

Women

Recent studies show a link between PFAS exposure in young women and breast cancer. Evidently, PFAS can alter the formation and growth of the mammary glands in females, disrupting their hormone production and suppressing their immune systems. This has been shown to lead to an increased rate of cancer, even at relatively low levels of exposure.

In fact, adult women also have an increased risk of developing breast cancer when exposed to higher levels of PFAS, such as the levels found in contaminated drinking water.

Firefighters

Firefighters are at an increased risk of developing PFAS-related conditions due to the widespread use of fire-fighting foam containing PFAS. This fire-fighting foam, also referred to as aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), is used to fight particularly challenging fires where water or other methods are not expected to work. However, a 2015 study found that firefighters are at a greater risk of developing cancer than the general public, which, in part, is believed to be due to the use of AFFF-containing PFAS.

Speak with a PFAS Contamination Attorney to Discuss Your Potential PFAS Lawsuit

No Fee PromiseIf you were exposed to PFAS, either while spending time near a military base or as a firefighter, these harmful chemicals might have caused you to suffer irreversible health problems. At Console & Associates, P.C., our mass tort lawyers have extensive experience helping victims who were exposed to toxic chemicals recover meaningful compensation from those responsible. We offer free consultations to all prospective clients, during which we will answer all your questions, advise you of your options, and provide you with honest advice about how you can proceed with your case. If you decide to bring a case with us, we will not bill you for our services unless we can recover compensation on your behalf, either through a jury verdict or an out-of-court settlement. If you would like to learn more about pursuing PFAS contaminated water lawsuit claims, reach out to an experienced attorney at Console & Associates, P.C., by calling 866-778-5500 to schedule a free consultation. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.