If you or a loved one was exposed to PFAS contamination and were subsequently diagnosed with a serious disease or injury – you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other losses.
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Although recently invented, the chemical compounds, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been incredibly popular in the past several decades. Invented in the 1930s, PFAS were originally intended to create surfaces that are resistant to oil, heat, and water. Typically, you might see these compounds in non-stick cookware and cleaning products.
Though recent regulations have reduced or prohibited the use of particularly dangerous PFAS, these chemicals last a long time in the environment and people’s bodies. Due to their historical use, the potential for harm remains.
For decades, PFAS were widely used in diverse industries. This includes:
Beyond their use in consumer products, these resilient chemicals have found applications in military, aerospace, and firefighting. Experts suggest their use in firefighting foam has led to water supply contamination on a global scale — with a 2018 Department of Defense report listing 1,621 military facility water supplies contaminated above the EPA’s current PFAS level standard.
Since PFAS have many historical and contemporary uses, the sources of contamination are varied. Depending on the chemical use, PFAs can be disseminated through the air, by direct contact, or by seeping into the water.
On a large scale, groundwater can become contaminated through the disposal of PFAS chemicals into water systems. This can come from landfills, factories that produce the chemicals, or even as a byproduct of wastewater management.
PFAS can then enter a person’s body through the drinking or eating of contaminated water or food prepared with contaminated water. People can also ingest PFAS through drinking water from a contaminated private well. According to the EPA, we still don’t know how to fully remove PFAS from drinking water.
Food can also be contaminated through contact with PFAS-treated products. Individual contamination can be a result of using PFAS-prepared cookware such as Teflon, or through the use of cleaning solutions.
Since 1999, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey has collected data regarding PFAS levels in the blood of the country’s population. While the data shows an overall downward trend, it also suggests that most people living in the US have been exposed to PFAS at some point. The Environmental Working Group offers a PFAS contamination map that designates areas with observed contamination. In it, you can find areas that have been contaminated along with the severity of each reported contamination. The map also helps to track the source of contaminations, such as military sites.
This map can help alert people to potential contamination and reinforces the importance of getting private water sources tested, especially if they are near identified sources of PFAS.
Although PFAS in general has a variety of health consequences, different types of PFAS come with their own detriments — both in the short term and long term. Factors like the length of exposure and quantity may have an effect as well.
The CDC states that potential health effects of PFAS exposure include:
The CDC further details that in further studies, lab animals have also shown evidence of potential effects like birth defects, and damage to the immune system. In many cases, these studies involved subjecting the test subjects to higher concentrations of PFAS than would be expected from typical environmental exposure. Still, they serve to illustrate the potential dangers of these chemicals.
Because of the same resistances and resilient properties that make PFAS useful in practical applications, they have the potential to last a long time in the environment without breaking down. Because of this, PFAS are known as forever chemicals. Different PFAS have different half-life measurements, or the amount of time it takes for half of the chemical substance to break down. In the human body, PFAS half-life can be several years. However, in the environment, PFAS half-life can be decades or longer.
This means that PFAS can continue to contaminate soil and water supplies. Additionally, airborne PFAS will eventually settle to the ground where they can contaminate the ground and water. From there, PFAS may be absorbed by crops grown in that soil, which may further expose people and livestock who consume those crops.
PFAS can concentrate over time in the human body through the process of bioaccumulation.
PFOA, one of the most popular PFAS, can persist long after exposure because of its long half-life and bioaccumulative properties.
The PFOA half-life in humans is anywhere from two to four years, and other PFAS have shown half-lives up to eight years.
Ongoing exposure to low levels of PFAS in drinking water can lead to concentrations high enough to potentially increased health risks.
PFAS are a type of human-made chemicals that do not occur naturally. However, their wide and long use has made them appear in water and environmental settings beyond their original industrial context.
The two (2) most common PFAS are:
PFOA and PFOS are fully fluorinated, organic compounds that have been proven to be resistant to typical environmental degradation.
Both chemicals have been found in the environment and in drinking water.
While U.S. regulations have ended PFOA and PFOS production, the chemicals do not break down and have remained in the environment in the water, soil, and air.
PFAS have been found in the blood of people and animals worldwide and in some food products.
New PFAS are currently being developed.
Very little scientific research on new PFAS exists, so it is uncertain if they have the same health concerns.
The new chemicals could be less toxic and persistent in the environment.
As mentioned, PFAS can be very pervasive in the environment. PFAS are in everything from the water we drink to the food we eat to the air we breathe. As such, it is impossible to completely avoid PFAS exposure. However, you can practice some measures to reduce your exposure to these dangerous chemicals.
Of course, none of these methods are foolproof. For instance, some water sources will take years to be classified as contaminated — during which time you could develop an illness or health complication.
Since PFAS contamination can occur from a variety of sources, responsibility for contamination may be shared among multiple parties. As such, it can be difficult to assign blame.
However, in some cases, a clear link can be drawn, such as an industrial facility that manufactures or uses products containing PFAS. These facilities can release PFAS into the surrounding environment through air emissions, wastewater, and landfill disposal. From there, PFAS can persist in the environment for long periods of time and have an impact on local residents’ health.
Due to its widespread use and difficulty proving the origin of the PFAS, general contamination cases might have insufficient evidence to make it to trial. However, in cases where PFAS contamination leads to illness, injury, or other significant conditions, a lawsuit may help recover damages.
Since PFAS contamination often originates from some public water source or comes from a mass-produced product, it may even be grounds for a class action lawsuit involving many people affected.
Before you move forward with a PFAS contamination lawsuit, you need to consider the following steps before taking legal action. First, familiarize yourself with the steps in civil litigation. You’ll know what to expect from your lawsuit once you do. You should also Hire a personal injury attorney, as it can greatly increase the chance of success in your PFAS contamination lawsuit. From here, you can proceed with the following:
The total damages incurred will amount to your total compensation, which will be paid by the liable party. PFAS contamination lawsuits and liability are a complex matter, with many bad actors potentially responsible for water contamination.
After assessing your case, your PFAS contamination lawyer will be able to determine the liable party or parties and help to guide you in your legal battle.
PFAS have contaminated the tap water of at least 16 million people in 33 states and Puerto Rico and groundwater in 38 states. PFAS contaminated water has been tied primarily to past military bases and industrial discharge.
The U.S. military previously used firefighting foams containing PFAS at hundreds of bases around the county. A Department of Defense Report listed 126 military facilities with water supplies contaminated above the EPA’s current PFA level standard.
PFAS contaminated water has also been found near major manufacturing plants with many states filing PFAS contamination lawsuits. Dupont, 3M, and many other companies have faced allegations of contaminating ground and surface water with PFAS.
PFAS are resistant to many water treatment processes, and some technologies might even increase their concentrations.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Drinking Water Treatability Database, PFAS can be removed up to 99 percent with processes such as:
These technologies have become less effective in filtering out new forms of PFAS.
If you or a loved one are suffering damages after being exposed to PFAS, you might be entitled to a PFAS Contamination Lawsuit.
At TorHoerman Law, we offer free, zero-obligation consultations for all potential PFAS contamination lawsuit clients.
Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers will work with you to take proper legal action for damages and compensation.
Contact us today to discuss your possible toxic tort lawsuit.
At this time, TorHoerman Law is investigating the possibility of filing a PFAS contamination lawsuit on behalf of individuals exposed to PFAS who subsequently developed an injury.
If you believe that you may qualify for a PFAS contamination lawsuit, you should contact a PFAS contamination lawyer right away.
Hiring a personal injury attorney can greatly increase the chance of success in your PFAS contamination lawsuit.
Before you move forward with your PFAS contamination lawsuit, there are a few steps you can take to prepare yourself for legal action.
First, familiarize yourself with the steps in civil litigation, so that you know what to expect for your lawsuit.
You can greatly help your PFAS contamination lawyer by collecting evidence to support your claim.
Any and all documentation of injuries or exposure to PFAS will be used to strengthen your argument.
Your PFAS contamination lawyer will help you to assess the damages incurred as a result of your exposure – in a chemical exposure lawsuit, there are likely to be both compensatory damages and punitive damages, so familiarize yourself with both.
The total damages incurred will be amount to your total compensation, which will be paid by the liable party.
PFAS contamination lawsuits and liability are a complex matter, with many bad actors potentially responsible for water contamination.
After assessing your case, your PFAS contamination lawyer will be able to determine the liable party or parties.
TorHoerman Law Attorneys are educated on the complexity and seriousness of PFAS contamination, exposure, and resulting lawsuits.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries related to PFAS contamination, legal action should be your next step.
TorHoerman Law offers free, confidential, and no-obligation case consultations to all potential clients.
You can also use the chatbot on this page to find out if you qualify for a PFAS Contamination Lawsuit instantly.
Our attorneys operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning we do not charge for legal services if compensation is not won for our clients.
Don’t hesitate, contact TorHoerman Law today.
The CDC states that side effects of PFAS exposure include, but may not be limited to:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is charged with addressing PFAS contamination in public water systems across the United States.
A PFAS claim alleges that an individual was exposed to PFAS contamination, and subsequently suffered: