Firefighting Foam Causing Water Contamination On, Near Military Bases; National Toxic Tort Attorneys Investigating Contamination Cases
Recent news indicates that a firefighting foam product has caused water contamination on and near military bases across the United States. Contaminated drinking water can cause severe injuries to people living on these bases or in surrounding neighborhoods.
The toxic tort lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP are investigating claims of contamination injuries and are standing up for victims and families. If you and your family have been affected by water contamination, contact our offices today. We will seek to hold the wrongdoers accountable and will pursue the compensation you.
What are PFCs?
On military bases, firefighters often use a spray foam product to control simulated or live fires. The foam was extremely prevalent in past years but is starting to become phased out because of its concentration of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs), known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). PFOS and PFOA are manmade chemicals that create a frictionless, heat-resistant barrier on objects. They have been widely used in everyday consumer items, such as:
- Nonstick cookware
- Stain-resistant carpet and furniture
- Food packaging
- Water-repellant sprays for fabrics
Consumer product manufacturers DuPont and 3M formerly used these chemicals in their popular products such as Teflon and Scotchguard. However, both companies voluntarily phased the chemicals out of production, as studies about their potential health effects came to light.
The heat-resistant qualities of PFOS and PFOA make them effective in firefighting operations, which is why numerous military bases around the country use spray foams containing the chemicals. Military members also report using the sprays for general cleaning.
PFCs Linked to Serious Health Risks
Though the Environmental Protection Agency has set guidelines on perfluorinated compounds, PFCs are not federally regulated. The scientific community still needs to perform extensive studies on the chemicals, as scientists do not yet fully understand all of the potential health risks tied to PFCs. However, to date, PFCs, particularly PFOS and PFOA, have been linked to the following medical complications:
- Testicular cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Impaired fetal development
- Congenital disabilities
- Thyroid disease
- Endocrine disruption
- High cholesterol
Unlike other persistent chemicals, PFCs are not stored in body fat. However, they have a long half-life, meaning it will take the body an extended amount of time to eliminate the chemical after exposure. PFCs can be passed from mothers to fetuses in utero or through breast milk.
Past testing mandated by the EPA found PFCs in the drinking water of more than 6.5 million people in 27 different states, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that almost all Americans have some amount of PFOS and PFOA in their blood. In 2016, the EPA set a new advisory limit for acceptable levels of PFOS and PFOA in water supplies at 70 parts per trillion, or about one drop of water in 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools. However, this is only an advisory limit; It is not legally enforceable, which means water suppliers do not have to follow it. More recent studies on PFCs show that no amount of PFOS or PFOA is safe to have in drinking water, so the EPA’s guidelines are already too high, and companies don’t have to adhere to them.
Military Begins National Water Testing for PFC Contamination
Because of its use of spray foams that contain PFOS and PFOA, the U.S. military has embarked on a years-long testing and cleanup process for water on and near military bases. The military must test approximately 400 stations across the nation, and testing to date has revealed potentially harmful levels of PFCs at or around 126 military installations. This includes 36 sites with on-base drinking water contamination above the EPA’s guidelines.
Twenty-five Army bases, 50 Air Force bases, 49 Navy or Marine bases, and two Defense Logistics sites have tested higher than the EPA guidelines in either drinking or groundwater. Also, 61 percent of the 2,668 wells tested on-base and in neighboring off-based communities have levels of PFOS and PFOA higher than the EPA’s guidelines.
The military has launched a cleanup effort (already to the tune of $200 million) that will undoubtedly take many years to complete and starts with addressing contaminated drinking water. In the 36 contaminated drinking water sites identified so far, the Department of Defense has been able to implement fixes at 24. The DOD manages the water supply at these 24 sites, where it has installed filters, connected to new wells, or provided alternate drinking water to affected residents.
Contracted vendors or utility companies own and manage the water supplies in the other 12 sites, so the military cannot unilaterally work on those. And because the EPA’s recommendations are not legally enforceable, the suppliers at these sites could very well take zero action without violating any laws.
The lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP believe the existing science that shows PFCs, including PFOS and PFOA, are unsafe and can cause severe health complications to families exposed to these chemicals. We are taking a stance and fighting for justice on behalf of injured people. If you have been diagnosed with a health ailment that you believe could be related to PFC contamination, contact our offices today. You can quickly schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers, who will thoroughly review your case to provide you timely options for legal recourse.
Free Toxic Tort Case Consultations – You Could Be Entitled to Significant Damages
At Parker Waichman LLP, we always provide free case consultations and never charge retainers or send huge bills to our clients. When you hire our attorneys, you will benefit from decades of toxic tort litigation experience without the worry associated with costly legal expenses. Our attorneys work on contingency fees, which means we advance the costs of your litigation, and you are completely protected in the event your case is not successful. Clients tell us they prefer this approach to the attorney-client partnership because they can focus on the critical issues in their lives without stressing about legal fees.
Parker Waichman LLP fights for the compensation our clients deserve, and we have had tremendous results, garnering more than $2 billion for injured people and families. By entrusting your case to us, you can pursue money damages, including:
- The costs of any medical treatment you have required for your injuries or will require in the future;
- The costs associated with any mitigating steps you have taken on your own property to try to protect yourself and your family;
- The money you have lost because of time is taken off work or the earning capacity you have lost because of your injuries;
- Money damages for your physical and mental pain and suffering.
Protecting your legal rights starts with one easy phone call to our firm. During your no-obligation consultation, one of our compassionate attorneys will discuss your case with you and work through your potential legal options. Call today to talk to a skilled toxic tort attorney.
Contact Parker Waichman LLP
If you have been injured by exposure to perfluorinated compounds or another toxic substance, schedule your free case consultation with one of our lawyers today by calling 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) or by filling out the Contact form on our website.
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