Toxic Tort Lawyers Warn of Contamination in Drinking Water

Our toxic tort lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm warn of dangerous amounts of perchlorate contamination in the drinking water of many U.S. states. Such high levels of the chemical can cause hypothyroidism or other thyroid diseases. If pregnant women have dangerous amounts of this chemical in their system, their unborn children may be seriously affected with delayed development, behavioral changes or reduced learning ability.

PE.com recently reported that companies that manufactured fireworks at a California city industrial spot where perchlorate polluted the water supply agreed to pay $5.7 million. This amount is the first of three payments expected to add up to over $100 million. It is expected to cover cleanup expenses and repay residents who were paying a surcharge on their water bills for close to a decade.

The EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) and various counties sued the fireworks manufacturer and other parties suspected of burning or dumping toxic chemicals in large holes in the ground at the California city site. Cities and water districts not associated with the lawsuits,closed down 20 contaminated wells and fitted treatment equipment following discovery of the pollution 5 years ago.

The contamination was discovered when tests became available to identify the presence of perchlorate at low levels. The State Department of Public Health determined that tap water from two wells may have caused thyroid issues that affected the mental and physical development of people who grew up in the California city of Rialto in the 1980s.

The settlement amount is confidential, but is expected to cover the expenses for pumping and treating polluted water. Rialto residents are to be reimbursed about $9 million in perchlorate charges that they paid on their water bills since 2004.

Perchlorate, an ingredient in rocket fuel and fireworks and TCE (trichloroethylene), a solvent, entered groundwater and traveled a minimum of three miles to the southeast in the direction of wells that belong to another California city. TCE is linked to cancer.

The EPA plan was to pump and clean the water from underground basins over a period of 30 years and the expected cost for this major plan was over $100 million.

Earlier this year, Space Safety Magazine revealed that the U.S. was considering a stricter provisional advisory limit pertaining to the permitted level of perchlorate in drinking water. Ammonium perchlorate is the main oxidizer utilized in solid rocket boosters.

Chronic exposure to perchlorate can obstruct thyroid iodide uptake, which in turn can lead to thyroid disease. Humans get exposed to the chemical chiefly through drinking water and produce. Three years ago, the EPA fixed a temporary advisory restriction of 15 µg/L of perchlorate in drinking water. However, this year, they were analyzing data to find out whether a stricter limit was necessary.

There is no consensus worldwide pertaining to perchlorate safety. The EPA is expected to introduce fresh guidelines in February 2013.

Reportedly, the World Health Organization has no recommendation regarding a perchlorate limit, and widespread contamination was not detected in Europe. The U.S. was the first in the world to suffer perchlorate contamination.

The higher the concentration of perchlorate, the more is the possible danger to humans. More than two decades ago, PEPCON, the ammonium perchlorate manufacturer was razed after accumulated ammonium perchlorate triggered an explosive fire.

Two people lost their lives in the factory and the shockwaves propelled doors off their hinges within a radius of 16 miles, in addition to breaking windows. Inhabitants all over the area suffered respiratory, skin and eye discomfort from the dispersed chemical.

If you or someone close to you has developed health problems, and you suspect these problems are due to perchlorate contamination, contact a personal injury attorney immediately for a legal consultation.

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