You should see your doctor if you have been exposed to PFAS and are concerned about your health, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
PFAS (per- and pollyfluoroalkyl substances) are man-made chemicals that can cause significant health problems, like cancer. These substances can be in drinking water, food, household cleaners, and everyday items. You can also get PFAS exposure on the job.
PFAS Are “Forever Chemicals”
According to the ATSDR, once you absorb PFAS into your body, they do not break down or leave for a long period of time. You continue to accumulate these chemicals throughout your lifetime.
The most commonly used PFAS can take about four years for the levels in your body to go down by half.
There have been many industrial uses for PFAS since the 1940s because these substances can:
- Increase the effectiveness of firefighting foams.
- Prevent stains and unwanted water absorption on fabrics.
- Create a nonstick surface for pots and pans.
- Coat food packaging to prevent the carton from absorbing grease and liquids.
- Improve paints and cleaning products.
Over the last 80 years, these chemicals became part of the everyday landscape of our lives. Over time, the substances leached into the soil and groundwater. Also, PFAS are in the food grown in contaminated soil and irrigated with the tainted water. Throughout the United States, public and private drinking water can have high levels of PFAS.
Industries at Risk of PFAS Exposure
PFAs are used frequently in many different applications and items, but people who work in specific industries might have a higher risk of PFAs exposure than the average person. Some of these industries could include:
- Oil industry
- Makers of fuel additives and other automotive chemicals
- Manufacturers of paints, coatings, and polishes
- Cookware factories
- Companies that make cleaning products
- Facilities that perform chrome plating
How PFAS Can Harm Your HealtheH
PFAS might damage several different systems within the body. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, some of the PFAS might:
- Make you more likely to develop cancer
- Cause reproductive effects
- Cause elevated cholesterol levels
- Weaken your immune system
- Damage your liver and kidneys
- Affect the hormones your body is supposed to make to function correctly
- Impair the development of infants and children
As more research gets completed, we might find additional medical conditions that PFAs can cause.
Removing PFAS from Your Drinking Water
PFAs are a challenge to remove from drinking water. These chemicals are robust and do not break down easily. Unfortunately, boiling water will only concentrate PFAS, not reduce or remove them.
If your local water has high levels of PFAs, you should get your drinking, cooking, and food preparation water from a different source that is safe. You should not even water your garden with water that contains high PFAs levels.
You might want to check your state’s website to find which entity provides your drinking water. You can look up the water safety reports for your address or ZIP code to find the official test results for your water system.
The EPA says there are a few different techniques that can be effective in removing or lowering levels of PFAS in drinking water. These include using activated carbon to filter water, attracting PFAS chemicals with an ion exchange treatment, and passing the PFAS contaminated water through a membrane to remove the harmful chemicals.
Getting Legal Help After Exposure to PFAS
In addition to seeing your doctor, there are more things that you can do if you have been exposed to PFAS or if you have a medical condition that you think might have a connection to PFAS. You might want to consult a lawyer who handles mass tort litigation for injuries from dangerous chemicals.
There is not yet a way to remove these “forever chemicals” from a person’s body. A person can face a lifetime of illness from exposure to PFAS. The cost of your medical treatments could become astronomical. You might face limitations on your ability to work and support yourself. Your quality of life could be diminished.
At the Pintas & Mullins Law Firm, we work hard to hold people responsible when they harm innocent people through carelessness or disregard for the safety of others. If we take your case, you will not have to pay upfront legal fees. We get paid out of the settlement proceeds or award at the end of the case.
You can call us today at (800) 788-4155 to get a free consultation. There is no obligation.