Millions of Americans across the country have discovered that the water in their faucets may be contaminated with a wide range of chemicals linked to heart disease, cancer, congenital disabilities and many other health complications.
The toxic human-made chemicals are known as per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and were originally created for a wide range of industry and consumer products. PFAS has been detected in drinking water in different communities across the country, with approximately 110million Americans being affected.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about PFAS and whether you are eligible for a PFAS contamination lawsuit.
What Are PFAS?
PFAS compounds consists of approximately 1,200 artificial chemicals widely used in the manufacture of industrial and consumer products globally since the 1940s.
The chemical substance gained widespread popularity due to its unique ability to resist water, oils, and grease. PFAS is used to manufacture a wide range of household products such as water recipient fabrics, and non-stick products such as polishes, Teflon, paints, waxes and cleaning products.
Industries that rely on firefighting foam or chrome plating and those that manufacture electronics also frequently use PFAS. The firefighting foam, has been identified as a major source of contamination near military bases and airports where firefighting training usually happens.
The most common PFAS are the Per-fluoroctanoic Acid (PFOA), Per-fluorooctane Sulfonic Acid (PFOS) and Gen X. A 2018 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) toxicity review revealed that exposure to these chemicals could cause serious health risks to the kidney, immune system, liver, thyroid, and general development of unborn children.
There is also a new PFAS that is currently being developed, but since there is so little scientific research about its existence, it is difficult to know if it has the same health concerns.
What Is PFAS Contamination?
The presence of PFAS and PFOS in water poses a significant health risk to many people. These chemicals usually find their way into the water supply when contaminated industrial waste is directed into water sources. The chemicals are also found in many consumer products.
For instance, PFOA is the main chemical substance found in Teflon products and other waterproof coatings. The chemical is also used in waterproof clothing, dental floss, fast food wrappers, carpets, and many other products.
PFOS is mainly used to manufacture firefighting foam, furniture, carpets, leather, and textiles. PFOS/PFAS water contamination mostly results from the proximity of water bodies to facilities that manufacture products with these products.
Any person who drinks water exposed to these chemicals is at an increased risk of exposure since most home filters do not remove the chemicals from the tap.
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Due to their sophisticated composition, PFAS and PFOS do not break down naturally. This is the primary reason why they are known as “forever chemicals.”
Typically, they remain in the environment for prolonged periods and enter the soil, water sources and even air. When you get exposed to these chemicals, you may suffer a wide range of health complications.
Risks Associated with PFAS Exposure
Scientific studies have shown that exposure to PFAS/PFOS can lead to:
- Increased cancer risks.
- Increased cholesterol.
- Adversely affect the functioning of the immune system.
- Disrupt the human body’s natural hormonal levels.
- Affect unborn children and infants, leading to stunted growth and delayed achievement of key milestones.
Increased PFAS/PFOS exposure has also been linked to unexplained weight gain, thyroid disease, neurobehavioral effects, and decreased vaccine response.
Exposure to these chemicals has also been correlated with lower birth weights, decreased fertility in both men and women and pregnancy-induced hypertension. There have also been concerns about PFAS and the endocrine disruption in some individuals.
Is PFAS/PFOS Toxic?
Generally, human exposure to these chemicals has been labeled as a public health concern by the National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and the CDC.
Different scientific studies have also established worrying links between PFAS toxicity and public health impacts. Gathered evidence shows that even low-level exposure to these chemical substances could be unsafe for human beings.
The same studies have shown that PFAS/PFOS exposure could significantly affect the body’s development while increasing one’s risk of developing cancer and other diseases.
How Can You Be Exposed to PFAS Contamination?
There are many ways that you can be exposed to PFAS/PFOS, and each way presents quite varied exposure levels. In most cases, you will be exposed to these chemical substances through:
- Eating fish or any other seafood caught in contaminated water.
- Drinking private well or municipal water that has been contaminated.
- Eating food that has been packaged in PFAS- containing food wrappers.
- Swallowing contaminated dust or soil.
- Using consumer products that contain PFAS, such as waterproof clothing, some cosmetic and personal care products, non-stick cookware, stain-resistant carpets, and some cleaning products.
What Can You Do To Reduce Your Risk of Exposure?
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to lower your risk of exposure. They include;
- Avoid consuming PFAS/PFOS-contaminated fish. You can achieve this by following the fish advisories put out by your state government and local health and environmental quality department.
- Check with your local health department to confirm if your drinking water has been labeled as PFAS-contaminated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If it has been labeled so, find an alternative water source for cooking, drinking, brushing, and other domestic chores.
- Avoid workplaces where you could easily be exposed to PFAS/PFOS.
Filing a PFAS Contamination Lawsuit
Have you or your loved one been exposed to PFAS or PFOS and subsequently diagnosed with serious injury or disease? If so, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other related losses.
Hiring an experienced PFAS injury attorney can significantly increase your chances of success. Keep in mind that PFAS contamination and liability is generally a complex matter with many actors potentially responsible for your loss.
Therefore, you need to have an expert by your side who will assess your case thoroughly and guide you through the entire process.
Contact us today to speak to an experienced mass tort attorney who will assess your case and advise you accordingly. We are here to help you get the rightful compensation you deserve!