PFOS and PFOAs are two highly-produced PFAS chemicals (toxic chemicals found in everyday products). When studies revealed these chemicals had negative environmental and human health impacts, they were ordered to cease being used. You were able to find them in a variety of products, such as:
- Fabric and leather coatings
- Stain-repellent carpeting products
- Foams created as fire-resistant
- Many house-hold products
Tough Toxins Found in PFOS AND PFOA
PFOA stands for Perfluorooctanoic Acid and PFOS for Perfluorooctane Sulfonate. These chemicals are both stain-resistant and water-resistant compounds that are hard to break down in the human body and the environment.
Even though it has been ordered that these chemicals cease being used in products in the U.S., they are still used internationally. Because only the United States has banned them, it means they can continue to threaten you from the imports that come into our country that still use the chemicals. Products that may continue to contain these dangerous chemicals include; textiles, apparel, and leather, carpets, plastics, and rubber, as well as paper and packaging. PFAS can also be found in contaminated water and soil due to its resilient compounds.
PFOA and PFOS are from a family of chemicals that have been around since 1950. They were manufactured for a number of commercial applications. PFOA is produced by the breakdown of other substances used to impart stain, grease, and water resistance to products such as carpets, textiles, and paper.
These chemicals had widespread use over a number of decades and have the tendency to bioaccumulate, which is causing increasing concern. Even though it has ceased being used due to EPA regulations, a study conducted in 2012 confirmed it was still present in surface waters, which are used for drinking water sources.
Health Advisories Issued for PFOS and PFOAs for Water Contamination
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) issued health advisories to alert the public as well as educate them about the contamination these chemicals present and the possible health risks, including those found in drinking water.
An EPA Health Advisory is given as a public warning or information on contamination that poses a serious risk to human health. In the case of PFOS and PFOAs, this warning was issued by the EPA in regards to the risk these chemicals pose to humans in their drinking water.
It was decided after this warning came out, under the Great Water Quality Agreement, Canada and the United States agreed to implement a bi-national plan to address the issues involved with PFOS and PFOAs in drinking water. The Canadians set guidelines for a maximum acceptable amount of PFOS and PFOAs that would be allowed in drinking water.
Following the lead of Canada, the EPA developed the Health Advisory levels for PFOS and PFOAs to be at seventy parts per trillion. When at these levels, your public water system has to notify you that your water supply is contaminated. There have been PFAS water contaminations in forty-three states, and some of the major cities included in these contaminants are:
- Bloomington, IL
- Ann Arbor, MI
- Colorado Springs, CO
- Los Angeles, CA
- Miami, FL
Health Effects from PFOS and PFOA Water Contamination
The EPA has advised that lifetime exposure to contaminated water can cause serious health conditions. Some of these health conditions include:
- Developmental delays
- Testicular and kidney cancer
- Reproductive health problems
- Deficiencies in antibody production
- Cardiovascular concerns
- Thyroid imbalances
- Neuroendocrine problems affecting the liver and kidneys
PFOA is not stored in body fat, but it takes a long time to leave a human’s system. The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports it can take years before these chemicals are flushed from our bodies. Exposure to them results from contaminated drinking water and foods as well as from product use that contains these chemicals.
- National Institute of Health (NIH)
The National Institute of Health was created by the United States government in the late 1870s and is responsible for research conducted on public health and biomedical issues. It is now part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Studies conducted on animals have shown that prenatal exposure to PFCs can delay mammary gland development, reduce immune functions, disrupt regular hormonal activity, damage the pancreas and liver, and also is responsible for developmental delays.
Environmental risks from PFASs being released into the water, soil, and air has led the U.S. Health Department to issue health advisories for both PFOA and PFOSs. The company, 3M, who is the leading manufacturer of Post-Its, voluntarily phased out its use of the chemical when this advisory was released.
Canada made changes to address the problems with PFOS and PFOAs in the environment. They created a risk-management strategy that prohibited the sale, use, import, and production of PFOS. Their country’s major international trading partners were also encouraged to eliminate the use of PFOS in their products. PFOS and PFOAs have now been added to the Prohibition of Toxic Substances Regulations.
The problem with these dangerous chemicals is it takes a long time for them to break down, so their long-lasting effects remain a concern for water supplies, the environment, and homes across the United States.
How to Protect Against PFOS and PFOA Water Contamination
Testing your drinking water can be the first step towards providing your loved ones and your home to have safer, cleaner water. To perform a basic water test takes less than ten minutes. Contact your water supply provider to find out how this test can be performed. Lab tests are a bit harder to identify. A water sample is sent to an EPA-certified lab for in-depth testing to check for any PFOS and PFOAs in your drinking water.
Why PFOS and PFOA Pose Such a Threat to Our Drinking Water
People cannot protect themselves from PFOS and PFOA when they can’t see them. These chemicals are in the air and our drinking water, but they are something we cannot visually see to prevent consuming or coming into contact with them. These dangerous compounds present a serious threat to human health when present in our drinking water. The only way to know if your water is contaminated is to have it tested.
Advocacy has been created to ensure PFOA and PFOS contamination is no longer a threat to human’s drinking water. People who have been harmed from these dangerous compounds should receive compensation for their loss. When appropriate, medical monitoring should be provided to make sure the early detection of health risks can be found from exposure to these compounds.
PFOS and PFOA are human-made chemicals. They were, and in some cases, still are found in numerous consumer products. These are standard products used by nearly every American. PFOA is perhaps the best known as it is found in Teflon products manufactured by the Dupont company. It is also well-known in waterproof coatings manufactured by Honeywell and Saint-Gobain.
The PFOS used by the 3M Company and other companies to make firefighting foam has now been discovered to have seeped into the water supply of numerous communities. Anyone who believes they have been exposed to PFOA or PFOS contamination may never recover from the damages. If you have been affected, you may be able to recover damages by filing a lawsuit against the ones responsible. Consumer Alert Now can help you find the information you need to file for compensation.
The Evidence of the Dangers PFOA and PFOS Contaminating Drinking Water
The use of PFOA and PFOS has decreased over the past decade, but because there is no natural break down of these compounds, exposure risks continue. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has conducted studies on humans shown to have had exposure to this dangerous family of chemicals. Its studies found the compounds are capable of affecting developing infants and children, affect the immune system, interfere with a person’s hormones, and decrease fertility, heighten the risk of cancers, and increase a person’s cholesterol counts.
In light of the evidence and concerns regarding the risks of PFOA and PFOS exposures, the EPA classified them as ‘emerging contaminants’ in 2014, which means they are perceived or are a real threat to both the environment and human health. Following this, the Safe Drinking Water Act required more significant water systems to keep track of the levels of PFOS and PFOA in their water.
There is growing scientific evidence to support that PFOS exposure does lead to adverse health effects, including infertility issues and increased risk of cancer. People can be exposed to these dangerous chemicals in a number of ways. Workers are exposed to them during production, facilities that produce or use the substances can expose the surrounding communities through drinking water, and the consumers become exposed through the use of products that contain the chemicals.
If you feel you or someone you know and love as sustained health issues related to PFOS or PFOA water contamination, contact Consumer Alert Now to find out how you can file for compensation against these diseases or injuries.
Legalities Surrounding PFOS and PFOA Water Contamination
The problems and health concerns related to PFOS and PFOA water contamination are said to be in its infancy, as it is expected to become an even more significant problem. PFAS is much like the dangerous asbestos because it is quite pervasive, and can be found almost everywhere. The PFAS chemicals have been discovered in rivers, military bases, streams, and in the drinking water of more than 1,350 sites across the United States.
Lawsuits have begun to weave through the legal system, and governments at municipal, federal, and state levels are introducing new restrictions or increased the pollution status of PFAS. One judge in an Ohio lawsuit ruled in favor of a request for lifelong health monitoring to continue. 3M is aggressively fighting the increased liability claims, as well as the stringent regulations and legislation regarding PFAS.
The attorneys for 3M have advised Congress that the PFAS compounds do not cause harm to humans at the levels being found in the environment. They are stating the company has not hidden any research on PFAS and is continuing to work with states and cities, along with the EPA, to rectify PFAS contamination connected to its sites. The company discontinued its production of PFOA and PFOS in 2002, and switched to a shorter chain compound, that they feel is safer.
3M has spent years cleaning up its PFOS and PFOA dump sites and factories in Illinois, Alabama, and Minnesota, however, the question is the soil and groundwater contaminations. It is undetermined how severe the soil and water contamination levels are outside the factories, and whether or not they are high enough to cause lasting damage.
This uncertainty worries environmentalists, who say a published study that monitored the health of 16,000 participants in West Virginia who had been exposed to PFAS contaminated water were found to have serious health complications. These conditions included kidney cancers, high blood pressure, autoimmune, thyroid complications, high cholesterol, and testicular cancers.
3M has also given thousands of documents to the public domain, including published studies performed by 3M and other research teams. These documents contain information related to potential environmental and human health effects from PFAS. It is their goal to broaden the knowledge of these chemicals to a global audience.
There have been more than forty bills introduced into Congress requesting they raise the PFAS class so it can add some enforcement teeth. They continued to be pushed out, however, with other mounting concerns the House and Senate argue against, such as defense spending bills. The House had created a version that suggested certain PFAS levels be elevated to a Superfund level. If the version is passed, and Congress raises PFAS chemicals to Superfund status, it will have a serious impact on the 3M Company’s liability expenses.
Product liability experts monitoring the lawsuits being filed for PFOS and PFOA water contamination are noting most of them mention health risks, but most are complaining about significant environmental damages. It is believed this is the case as it is much easier to prove the chemicals are present in a city’s drinking water than to show these chemicals, and only these chemicals, are responsible for a person’s specific illness or disease.
Regulations of PFAS have increased at both the federal and state levels in the U.S. The new regulations are targeted at lowering the limits for acceptable levels of PFAS in soil and groundwater, as well as requiring companies to begin remediation projects to the already existing contamination issues.
It is estimated that PFAS-related litigation will run from twenty-five to forty-billion U.S. dollars. The lawsuits filed for PFOS and PFOA water contamination issues are mainly focused on the impacts these chemicals have had on human health and their environmental implications caused near manufacturing sites. There are on-going lawsuits against the manufacturers of PFAS, such as DuPont, 3M, and Chemours, for creating ecological contaminations. Many of these lawsuits state the companies knew about the risks involved with these chemicals, yet did not warn the public.
Lawsuits Surrounding PFOS and PFOA Water Contamination
A lawsuit was filed in the State of New Hampshire against a number of companies, including 3M and Dupont, for contributing to a nationwide drinking water contamination outbreak. The lawsuit claimed these companies polluted water by using PFAS.
It is alleged the companies did not warn consumers of the dangers involved with consuming or using their products. It is also alleged, the companies knew they were releasing the dangerous compounds into the environment and that it would make surface and groundwater sources unfit for drinking.
PFAS was used to manufacture a number of different products, especially those that made surfaces non-stick or heat resistant. They were also used in clothing and shoes to make them waterproof for years. The most widely used compound from the PFAS was the PFOA that Dupont used for their Teflon non-stick pan coatings.
Another product, the foam used to fight fires, contains PFOA and has led to widespread contamination in airports, military bases, as well as firefighter centers. The Pentagon has even found PFOS in the drinking water or ground waters in more than 125 military bases.
It has been a slow process for U.S. states and other countries around the world to understand how serious the problems are with PFOS and PFOAs, and how massive the water contamination problem has grown. PFAS are still, in some cases, continuing to be causing serious health risks due to them taking so long to degrade in the environment. They continue to be a serious risk to human health and the environment when there is an exposure to elevated levels.
There have been detectable low levels of PFAS in the blood of everyone. The United States CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) found there are levels of PFOA in almost everyone they tested. It is estimated there about nineteen million people in the United States who have been contaminated by PFAS in their drinking water.
Companies, such as 3M and Dupont, knew there was a danger to human health but chose not to make their findings public. Studies have linked this dangerous compound to infertility, heightened risk of cancer, and developmental delays. One study even found young men who lived close to a PFAS site in Italy had smaller penises and lower sperm counts than men who did not live in this area.
The focus of the New Hampshire lawsuit was with the firefighting foam, which caused groundwater contamination near the Air Force Base as well as near several fire stations that have shown up across the state. The companies named in the lawsuit include Chemguard, Chemours Company, and 3M, as well as a number of firefighting foam retailers who have endangered the public’s welfare through the use of this product.
Other states have joined the growing list of litigants. New Jersey and New York have also filed lawsuits against Dupont and 3M, along with other companies that have manufactured and used PFAS compounds.
How the Companies are Addressing the PFOA and PFOA Contamination Risks
In efforts to reduce the exposure of PFAS related risks, companies responsible for these chemicals have taken steps:
- Certain companies have taken the step to discontinue the use and manufacturing of the most controversial PFAS. The 3M company voluntarily phased production out in 2000, and DuPont committed to eliminating its use of the long-chain PFAS in some of its operations by the end of 2019. How these steps will benefit existing concerns is unclear, as the scientific evidence has proven these short-chain PFAS remain highly mobile in water and soil and lead to faster contamination of our drinking water.
- Because of the characteristics of the PFOS and PFOA, it is difficult to filter them from water. The stricter regulations being enforced have had some companies taking steps to improve the filtration of these chemicals.
Companies exposure to the risks created by PFAS-related contaminants can be traced to their legacy going back decades. Because PFAS is still persistent in our environment and are still responsible for environmental issues and health-related conditions in humans, these issues remain relevant today, as seen by the wave of litigation occurring in the industry.
The PFAS chemicals at one time were seen as a benefit to modern society; however, now they are being recognized as a significant environmental and social concern. PFAS litigation is expected to expand outside the United States as awareness of these concerns spread.
Find a Mass Tort for PFOS and PFOA Water Contamination Near Me
A mass tort is a civil legal action involving multiple plaintiffs against a few or one defendant. If you or someone you know has been affected by PFOS and PFOA water contamination, contact Consumer Alert Now to find out how to join a mass tort near you. Call Consumer Alert Now at 800-511-0747 and discover how you can find compensation for injuries or illnesses caused by these dangerous chemicals by what we thought were dependable and reliable companies. A mass tort will speed up the litigation process for you, and make sure you, and all individuals involved, receive a fair settlement for your injuries. Call today at 800-511-0747 and ensure your case is addressed, and you receive the compensation you deserve.