A recent study found that troops were exposed to “forever chemicals” in drinking water at off-base locations near military bases across the United States. It is believed that the contamination was caused by the use of firefighting foam containing PFAS chemicals. PFAS or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances are man-made chemicals that have been linked to serious health problems, including several kinds of cancer and ulcerative colitis.
If you were exposed to PFAS and suffered adverse health effects, you might be entitled to compensation by filing a PFAS lawsuit based on negligence, failure to warn, and product liability on the part of the manufacturers. Contact King Law today to determine whether you may be eligible for compensation under a PFAS cancer lawsuit or PFAS class action lawsuit.
PFAS Lawsuit Update
November 2023: Court Settlement Hearing Upcoming
The parties continue to move towards settlement in the AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit. The Court granted preliminary approval of settlement in favor of water suppliers in June, against defendants 3M and Dupont. The settlement, if approved, would provide over 13.6 billion water providers that have PFAS chemicals in their source water. The final fairness hearing is scheduled for December 14, 2023. About one-third of the money allocated will be set aside for towns or cities that have positive PFAS tests in the future and are known as Phase Two municipalities.
October 2023: PFAS Injury Claims move to the front of Firefighting Foam Lawsuit
Following preliminary settlement of the municipal water claims in the Firefighting foam PFAS lawsuit the personal injury cases have become the Court’s top priority. The case is a national lawsuit being heard in Charleston. The Case involving PFAS contamination is broken into three parts: contaminated water claims, personal injury claims and contaminated land claims. The water claims were preliminarily settled in June. The Judge is now focused on reaching a resolution in the personal injury claims. The parties seem to agree that PFAS exposure can cause some illnesses including Thyroid Disease, Testicular Cancer, Kidney Cancer, Ulcerative Colitis, and Pre-eclampsia. Lawyers for the plaintiff suggest injuries are caused by PFAS exposure directly to Firefighting foam as well as exposure to contaminated drinking water. Exposure to PFAS chemicals is typically shown by testing a person’s blood.
August 2023: To date, over 15,000 claims have been filed against Dupont and 3M due to adverse health effects related to exposure to “forever chemicals” known as PFAS. The companies have paid over $11.5 billion in damages related to PFAS contamination, with that number expected to grow exponentially. While often referred to a “Class Action” these lawsuits are actually known as an MDL or Multi- District Litigation.
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What is PFAS?
PFAS stands for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances. These substances are a group of man-made chemicals known for their resistance to heat, water, and oil. PFAS are widely used throughout products in the United States.
PFAS chemicals have been integrated into a variety of consumer goods, including:
- Non-stick pans
- Food packaging
- Carpets, rugs, and textiles
- Medical equipment
- Personal care products
- Water-repellent clothing
- Firefighting foams
PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” because they are persistent and can last for thousands of years. When tested, every American was found to have PFAS chemicals in their blood. Exposure to PFAS chemicals has been linked to substantial health concerns, including hormone disruption and certain kinds of cancers.
PFAS Chemicals List
PFAS refers to a broad class of chemicals. The full extent of their effect on the environment and humans is still unknown. Studies continue to understand the health impacts PFAS chemicals and compounds have on humans.
PFAS chemicals list of compounds that have been linked to adverse health effects in humans:
- PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic Acid): PFOA was historically used in the manufacturing of Teflon and other non-stick products. It has been linked to high cholesterol, increased liver enzymes, decreased vaccination response, thyroid disorders, pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia, and cancer (testicular, kidney).
- PFOS (Perfluorooctane Sulfonic Acid): PFOS is frequently used in firefighting foam and various industrial applications. It is associated with high cholesterol, thyroid disease, immunological effects, and testicular and kidney cancers.
- PFNA (Perfluorononanoic Acid): PFNA has been found in certain food packaging and non-stick products. Some studies suggest a potential link between the substance and kidney cancer as well as high cholesterol.
- PFHxS (Perfluorohexane Sulfonic Acid): PFHxS is commonly used in firefighting foam and some industrial processes. Research suggests it may have effects on the immune system.
- GenX Chemicals: GenX chemicals refer to a trade name for chemicals used to replace PFOA in the manufacturing of Teflon and other non-stick surfaces. One of the most commonly discussed GenX chemicals is HFPO-DA (Hexafluoropropylene Oxide Dimer Acid). Some animal studies have shown negative health effects on the liver, blood, immune system, and in developing fetuses.
If you believe that you were exposed to PFAS chemicals through your drinking water or a consumer product, you might be entitled to compensation. Our PFAS lawyers continue to investigate claims related to PFAS exposure.
PFAS Health Effects and Symptoms
There are a number of suspected health implications of PFAS exposure. It is believed that continuous exposure to high levels of PFAS may lead to a wide range of problems.
PFAS symptoms may include:
- Hormone disruption
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Reduced immune response
- Developmental issues in infants and children
- Decreased vaccination response in children
- Increased risk of preeclampsia in pregnant women
- Changes in liver enzymes
- Kidney cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Thyroid hormone disruption
- Reproductive issues
The health effects of PFAS are far-reaching. Because some PFAS build up in the body, it can take a substantial amount of time for exposure symptoms to dissipate. If you suspect that you are suffering a health condition related to PFAS exposure, you need to speak to an attorney.
PFAS Manufacturers and Products
PFAS chemicals have been used by manufacturers since the 1940s. Over the last several decades, there has been a rapid expansion in the use of these substances because of their versatility and unique properties.
Multiple states, individuals, and counties have filed lawsuits against major manufacturers such as 3M & Co. and DuPont for their role in the PFAS industry. Some states have even restricted the use of some products manufactured by these companies because they contain PFAS.
In 2018, the State of Washington restricted the use of Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) firefighting foam because it contains PFAS. It is alleged that companies like 3M and DuPont knew of the dangers of PFAS and continued to use the substance in their products. DuPont has recently come under fire for its supply of PFAS to other companies.
List of Products with PFAS
PFAS is found in a large variety of products, from everyday household items to camping gear and firefighting foam. Unfortunately, nearly every American is exposed to PFAS on a daily basis.
PFAS products may include:
- Non-stick cookware
- Water-repellent clothing
- Firefighting foam
- Cleaning products
- Stain-resistant fabrics and carpets
- Food packaging
- Ski and snowboarding wax
- Waterproof tents and camping gear
- Paints and varnishes
Because of their persistence, PFAS chemicals are not easily destroyed and may impact the environment. It is believed that drinking water throughout the United States has been contaminated with PFAS because of runoff from firefighting foam and other PFAS-containing products.
PFAS in Drinking Water
PFAS has not only been found in countless consumed products throughout the country, but it has also been found in drinking water near communities, schools, and military bases. Long-term exposure to PFAS has been linked with serious adverse health problems, including an increased risk of cancer.
PFAS are considered forever chemicals that do not break down easily in the environment. They can enter water sources through industrial processes, runoff from landfills, firefighting foam residue, and other methods. Chronic exposure to certain PFAS compounds in drinking water has been linked to various health risks, including liver issues, cancers, hormone disruption, and developmental problems in children.
The EPA’s proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for PFAS sets legal limits for specific PFAS chemicals in water. Testing and filtration methods, such as activated carbon and reverse osmosis, can help reduce PFAS concentrations in drinking water.
New PFAS Regulations (as of September 2023)
On March 14, 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency announced the proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for six PFAS chemicals.
The six PFAS chemicals affected by the proposed NPDWR include:
- Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) – zero proposed MCLG with enforceable levels at 4.0 parts per trillion
- Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) – zero proposed MCLG with enforceable levels at 4.0 parts per trillion
- Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) – 1.0 (unitless) Hazard Index
- Hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA, commonly known as GenX Chemicals) – 1.0 (unitless) Hazard Index
- Perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) – 1.0 (unitless) Hazard Index
- Perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS) – 1.0 (unitless) Hazard Index
The EPA expects to finalize its PFAS regulations by the end of the year. If implemented, the EPA anticipates that thousands of deaths will be avoided and tens of thousands of serious PFAS-related illnesses will be prevented. Under the proposed rule, public water systems would be required to monitor the six named PFAS, notify the public of the levels of the six PFAS, and reduce the levels of these PFAS in drinking water if they go over the proposed standards.
Some states have implemented their own regulatory actions. For instance, Maine has initiated a sweeping PFAS ban on numerous products, including carpets and rugs, beginning in 2023. It is expected that there will be additional PFAS regulations by states in the coming years.
How to File a PFAS Lawsuit
If you have been exposed to PFAS and have suffered adverse health conditions, you may be entitled to compensation. Companies or entities responsible for PFAS exposure may be held liable for a number of issues, including misrepresentation, negligence, and a failure to properly handle and manage PFAS chemicals.
There are several types of legal action that you may be able to take against a PFAS manufacturer, including filing a personal injury claim, class action lawsuit, or environmental damage claim. To determine whether you can file a PFAS cancer lawsuit, you need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible.
PFAS Lawsuit Settlement Amounts
The value of a PFAS lawsuit depends on a number of factors, including the severity of harm caused, evidence presented, legal representation, and the defendant’s willingness or capacity to settle.
Factors that may determine a PFAS Lawsuit Settlement Amount:
- Severity of Harm: The nature and extent of harm suffered by the victims, whether health-related or environmental, play a pivotal role in determining compensation.
- Evidence and Representation: A strong case backed by concrete evidence and robust legal representation tends to result in higher settlement amounts.
- Company’s History: If the defendant has a history of negligence or prior PFAS-related issues, it can influence the court’s decision in terms of penalties and compensation.
- Litigation vs. Settlement: Companies might prefer out-of-court settlements to avoid negative publicity, which can be used as a negotiation point for victims.
DuPont and two of its subsidiaries, Chemours and Corteva, recently reached a $1.185 billion settlement with 300 local water systems. The water systems sued the companies for their part in contaminating wells and aquifers in the area. Shortly thereafter, 3M reached a $10.3 billion settlement with a separate set of water providers. These settlements underscore the gravity of PFAS exposure and the legal recourse available to those affected.
Contact a PFAS Cancer Lawyer
A PFAS cancer lawyer can help you understand your rights if you were exposed to PFAS chemicals and subsequently diagnosed with an adverse health condition. It is imperative to consult with an attorney immediately after you are diagnosed with a PFAS-related health condition. A PFAS water contamination lawyer can help you fight to get the compensation you deserve. Contact our office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.