Posted On March 28, 2022 Product Liability and Class Action News
In recent years, the bad news about toxic chemicals called PFAS has gotten worse on two fronts. Not only has contamination by these hazardous chemicals been determined to be widespread, but the evidence of PFAS posting serious health risks has been piling up in research studies. Simply put, drinking water contaminated by PFAS could potentially be harmful to your own health and that of your family.
Residents of PFAS-contaminated towns can and should take action to protect themselves, including holding those responsible for the toxic chemical exposure legally accountable. The PFAS attorneys at Console & Associates, P.C. are currently seeking to interview potential claimants and investigate potential legal options for the victims of PFAS contamination at no upfront cost.
These water contamination matters stem from the exposure of toxic chemicals called PFAS in drinking water, typically supplied by public water systems.
The acronym “PFAS” stands for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Some of the specific types of PFAS that you may encounter include perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). PFAS are used in the coating of non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing, certain firefighting foams, stain-resistant fabrics and water-resistant and oil-resistant products, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
PFAS are referred to as “forever chemicals,” because these man-made substances—designed to be flame-retardant and water-resistant—are insoluble. In other words, they don’t dissolve or degrade in the environment. This means that these toxic chemicals can linger in landfills, groundwater, and soil, potentially for thousands of years, contaminating the environment around them.
One of the most dangerous forms of PFAS contamination is PFAS contamination of drinking water. When drinking water, typically provided by public water systems, is contaminated with PFAS, the toxic chemicals are detected in amounts that are generally considered to be substantial.
The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, has established a legal limit for more than 90 of the different contaminants that may be found in drinking water, but as of 2022, PFAS are not among the regulated contaminants—even though the EPA has issued health advisories pertaining to PFAS. Although the EPA is working on establishing a legal limit for PFAS, the Agency’s risk assessment is not expected to be finalized until 2023. However, widespread testing has found detectable levels of PFAS in water systems and in human blood, demonstrating how exposure to these chemicals can cause PFAS to build up in the body.
PFAS water contamination is an area of particular concern because, in this form of exposure, individuals are directly consuming the chemicals—often without even realizing it.
While PFAS don’t literally last “forever” in the human body, they can accumulate and linger. Even once exposure to these toxic chemicals ends, it can take years for the chemicals in the body to dissipate even to half their original amount. As such, the potential health risks posed by PFAS drinking water contamination don’t disappear just because your exposure to the chemicals in your drinking water has stopped.
PFAS are potentially dangerous chemicals, especially when consumed directly, as they are when a human (or animal) ingests them in contaminated drinking water. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry noted that some PFAS can build up in the body over time and exposure and “may affect different systems in the body.” This means that the ways in which PFAS exposure may potentially affect individuals’ health and health risks are varied.
What are the dangers of PFAS, according to research studies? The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry lists the following risks as established by PFAS research studies involving human participants:
These conditions can be serious in and of themselves, as well as putting an individual at risk of suffering other serious medical problems.
The PFAS-Exchange, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, has compiled an interactive map of the “known or suspected PFAS contamination” sites across the United States. Unfortunately, PFAS exposure—through contaminated drinking water and otherwise—is so widespread that, in the words of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, “most people in the United States have one or more specific PFAS in their blood, especially PFOS and PFOA.”
One way to find out if there is known PFAS contamination in your water supply is by contacting your local water utility or your state or municipal health department to ask about whether any PFAS testing has been performed. Many people in communities affected by PFAS contamination only find out that their drinking water may be exposing them to toxic chemicals when they receive a notice in the mail from the public water system that supplies their water.
Unfortunately, because they are “forever chemicals,” PFAS won’t just go away on their own. Left alone, they can persist in the environment for thousands of years. The treatment systems that public water systems eventually put into place may take years to plan and implement. Often, the only way many residents affected by PFAS contamination can rest assured that their drinking water isn’t dangerous is by installing certain types of filtration systems that have been shown to be effective at getting rid of PFAS.
Many of the popular home filtration systems, including whole-home systems and filters in refrigerators or water pitchers, are not fully effective at filtering out PFAS, according to Duke University researchers. The types of technology that have been found to be effective at removing PFAS include:
The PFAS-Exchange is one reliable resource residents of communities affected by PFAS contamination in drinking water can consult to learn more about these different types of filters.
Through your exposure to drinking water that is contaminated by PFAS, your health and the health of your loved ones have been put at risk. You shouldn’t be the one having to bear the financial burden of an illness that results from unknowingly drinking contaminated water.
Many residents in areas affected by PFAS drinking water contamination don’t realize that they may have legal recourse. Already, other types of plaintiffs—like water districts and localities—have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers of PFAS over the groundwater contamination by these chemicals. Now that more research linking PFAS exposure to health risks has emerged, individuals may also be able to move forward with PFAS contamination lawsuits.
Through individual or class action PFAS contamination claims, families may be able to pursue financial compensation for the harm that resulted from consuming PFAS in drinking water. The experienced attorneys at Console & Associates, P.C. are currently seeking to interview potential claimants regarding legal actions that arose out of PFAS contamination in water. Taking part in a class action investigation or a PFAS lawsuit requires no upfront fees or payment.
Our PFAS contamination attorneys have decades of experience holding companies and organizations responsible for causing harm to people, and we welcome any questions you may have about what to do when you have been exposed to PFAS-contaminated drinking water. You can learn more about the steps you should take and the legal options available to you during a free, no-obligation consultation.