New fears of possible contamination from exposure to PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are emerging after the blood of hundreds of suburban Philadelphia residents living in close proximity to military bases tested positive for the toxins. More than 230 residents living in Philadelphia suburbs near military bases in Horsham and Warminster were found to have high PFAS levels in the blood.
PFAS are potentially lethal toxins found in waterproof coating, food delivery containers, and nonstick cookware. Exposure to PFAS can occur through drinking contaminated water, skin absorption, inhalation, and consumption of certain seafood.
Military bases in Horsham and Warminster used firefighting foam containing PFAS as part of their training exercises. Authorities believe PFAS and other toxic chemicals located on these military bases leaked into drinking water supplies in Bucks County and Montgomery County. More than 70,000 residents are believed to have been exposed to the contaminated drinking water supplies. According to tests performed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the level of PFAS in the 235 tested individuals was five times higher than the national average.
The Horsham and Warminster military bases are not the only military installations linked to contaminated water supplies. More than 27 bases throughout 16 states have reported contaminated water supplies resulting from the military’s use of chemicals on its bases. Under the guidance of the National Institute of Environmental Health and Sciences, the U.S. military is spending over $10 million to study the effects of PFAS exposure on residential areas located near military bases. The water sources in Horsham and Warminster have been changed following the release of the toxin test results.
Research continues to link PFAS exposure with serious health risks. An increased risk for testicular and kidney cancer has been associated with exposure to PFAS. Other potentially dangerous effects of PFAS exposure include thyroid disease, certain pregnancy-related conditions, such as hypertension and pre-eclampsia, increased cholesterol levels, and ulcerative colitis.
There are no safe levels of PFAS exposure or consumption. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued an advisory to avoid drinking water containing more than 70 parts per trillion of PFAS. Individuals whose water supplies test positive for elevated PFAS levels frequently install filtration systems or forgo using tap water in favor of bottled water for their cooking needs. Although a filtration system can remove PFAS from drinking water, PFAS presents a difficult disposal problem as it must be melted or burned at extremely high temperatures to completely eradicate.
Treating the physical complications caused by exposure to PFAS can become costly. In addition to the costs of medical treatment, including physician fees, hospital expenses, prescription drugs, and rehabilitation costs, many individuals living with the aftermath of PFAS exposure suffer economic losses, including lost wages and the cost of installing necessary filtration systems. Compensation for the injuries caused by exposure to PFAS may be available to affected individuals.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to toxins and are currently suffering physical injuries, the dedicated Pennsylvania environmental contamination lawyers at Williams Cedar can assist you in obtaining compensation for your injuries. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we proudly represent clients throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey. Call us at 215-557-0099 today or contact us online for a free consultation.