PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substances) are chemicals that were found in a variety of manufacturing purposes that improved how things were made. However, continuing research shows that PFAS, which is a wide collection of man-made chemicals, have some serious drawbacks and potential health risks. PFAS do not break down naturally in the environment or digestive systems, so they can remain in the environment and in living bodies for decades. It is linked to the development of several types of cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Most surprisingly, most people around the world have it in their blood according to widespread testing.
The only way to prevent these health problems is to remove the source of PFAS. One way that many people are exposed is through water. PFAS can exist in water for a long time and can be found in many municipal water sources. If you want to remove PFAS from your water, you have to be able to test for it first.
Signs of PFAS Contamination
PFAS and a related chemical, PFOS, are two of the most common PFAS-type chemicals. Ongoing research conducted by EWG showed that they were both found in large metropolitan areas that use surface water as a primary water source across the country. EWG continues to test water for PFAS to find ways of addressing the problem. The signs of PFAS contamination include:
- Increased health risks: PFAS is linked to a variety of health conditions. The areas where contamination is high generally see increases in disease rates.
- Weakening vaccines: PFAS can damage the human immune system, making people more vulnerable to infections. It can also reduce the effectiveness of vaccines, further increasing infection risk.
- Developmental defects in children: PFAS can potentially cause developmental defects in children including low birth weights and other potential problems.
- Thyroid problems: PFAS can directly affect how the thyroid works, leading to hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
- Higher cancer rates: PFAS is also linked to several types of cancer.
There are other signs of PFAS contamination not covered on this list. The EPA, EWG, and other organizations keep detailed information on PFAS research, including maps of where testing was done and high levels of contamination are found. If you think that PFAS may be the cause of your illness, consult medical professionals for more detailed testing.
Steps You Can Take to Test for PFAS
Testing for PFOS is a complex process that can and should only be done in a laboratory setting. However, there are labs around the country that are capable of doing the testing. To test for PFAS yourself, contact one of these labs to receive a testing kit. The lab will send you a test kit for several samples.
When you receive the kit, all you have to do is take the samples from your tap water and label the containers according to the instructions. Then, place the containers back in the box that it came in and return it to the lab. The lab can run the tests and let you know what the results were.
When to Seek Legal Action
If you are experiencing medical problems that could be related to PFAS contamination, seek medical attention. Healthcare facilities may be able to test for PFAS in your blood. The results of these tests, combined with a test of the water in your house and places that you lived in could be used as evidence in a lawsuit.
Many of the companies that used and developed PFAS can be held accountable for contaminating water sources. There are class-action lawsuits ongoing that you can be a part of to recover compensation for medical expenses. You can also have a lawyer take legal action on your behalf against a company that can be linked to your exposure.
Testing Options for PFAS
If you think that your home has PFAS-contaminated water, the only way to be sure is to lab-test your water. Finding PFAS in water takes lab-level equipment and processes. Fortunately, there are labs across the country that do the PFAS tests. You can also check the EPA’s PFAS testing map to see if you are in an area that had testing done and shows levels of contamination.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency Method 533 test and the EPA Method 537.1 test can identify up to 29 PFAS chemicals. Many labs can use either method or both methods to test your water. You can also contact your local government to see if there are completed tests. If there are, the results should be in the public record and you should be able to get access to them.
Discuss Your Potential Case with Our Legal Team
If you or a loved one are experiencing health problems related to PFAS chemicals and you have extensive medical bills and other expenses, you may be able to seek compensation from the companies responsible for the contamination. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 788-4155 to speak to our legal team about your case.