Exposure to the PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) family of compounds can lead to significant health problems, including an increased risk of developing cancer.
Determining Possible Health Risks
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, multiple health problems are possible for humans or animals with detectable levels of PFAS chemicals in their blood.
Researchers have found health problems in humans, and animals may include:
- An increased risk of certain types of cancers.
- A reduction in the effectiveness of the immune system.
- A reduction in the body’s hormone levels.
- Interference with the function of multiple organs in the body, including the liver, pancreas, and thyroid.
- Low body weight in newborns when the mother has a PFAS exposure.
Scientists have only studied a few of the dozens of compounds that make up PFAS. This means researchers may not know the full extent of what PFAS does to your body. It might help to consult your doctor to determine whether any symptoms or illnesses you are experiencing could have a relationship to PFAS.
How PFAS Enters the Body
Becoming exposed to PFAS compounds may occur through a number of avenues. The exposure for some people may have occurred a few decades ago, but the health problems are only showing up now.
Should you have detectible levels of PFAS, you may have to think back to times where you may have had a PFAS exposure. This type of information can be helpful if you are part of a lawsuit against the manufacturer of PFAS compounds.
Use of PFAS
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), multiple types of industries and manufacturing sites made use of PFAS, beginning in the 1940s and continuing for several decades. Companies in the United States no longer use the most common PFAS, but because these man-made chemicals do not break down, they remain in the soil, the groundwater, and the human body for decades.
Areas where PFAS exposure frequently occurred include:
- Drinking water: Multiple municipal water systems have discovered PFAS in the water, meaning residents in those areas may have ingested PFAS compounds through drinking water.
- Food packaging: Some manufacturers processed and packaged food in containers that include PFAS, resulting in exposure for people who may have eaten that food or for those who worked in the facility to package the food.
- Animal exposure: Some animals may develop PFAS exposure when drinking contaminated water or living in contaminated soil, and a person could receive exposure after eating one of these animals.
- Plants and bases: Military bases, chrome plating facilities, oil recovery facilities, aircraft service areas, and other manufacturers regularly used PFAS compounds, leading to a contamination of the area with these dangerous chemicals.
Even years after manufacturing plants or military bases closed or moved, the PFAS in use at those facilities may remain in the soil or groundwater, potentially leading to exposures now.
Finding Areas of PFAS Exposure
The EPA has found 10 states that have significant exposure to PFAS in certain areas. Identification of these sites may help doctors figure out when they should be looking for potential PFAS exposure during blood work, which could explain a mysterious illness that a patient is having. Those states the EPA has identified include:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
In especially dangerous situations, the EPA may issue drinking water health advisories, helping people determine whether they could possibly expose themselves to PFAS compounds through drinking local water sources.
We Can Work on Your Case
When PFAS manufacturing started in the 1940s, no one knew what PFAS does to your body. Although research continues on just exactly what kinds of PFAS chemicals can affect humans, enough evidence already exists concerning PFAS exposure that American companies are trying to stop using these chemicals.
Although putting an end to using these PFAS chemicals is a good step to protect the health of Americans, many suffered exposure to PFAS, and are feeling the consequences today. Those with health problems after suffering exposure have the right to bring a lawsuit against the companies that made and used PFAS compounds for decades.
Call the Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 788-4155 today for a free case review. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means clients do not need any money up front to hire us. Our fees come from the final settlement in the case.