Forever Chemicals (PFAS) Detected in Half of U.S. Tap Water

PS: And Connected to Cancer and Thyroid Disease
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PFAS Contaminated Drinking Water Lawsuit

PFAS in Drinking Water Linked to Cancer & Health Issues.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) in March 2023 announced that half the US public water supply has been contaminated with virulent PFAS (dubbed “forever chemicals” because they virtually never decompose). EWG’s accompanying map of PFAS hotspots shows 2,858 locations in 50 states and two territories known to be affected.

If you have been notified by your state or local authorities that your drinking water is contaminated – or – you worked as a firefighter and developed one of these cancers or illnesses, please contact us right away.

  • Kidney cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Prostate cancer (DX in men under 50)
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Thyroid disease
  • Ulcerative colitis

If you think your drinking water may be contaminated but aren’t sure, state and private testing is available. Find your state’s Pollution Control & Ecology Commission or your state’s Department of Environmental Protection/Quality and search “PFAS.”

You can also order an at-home tap water testing kit. Depending on the model and sophistication level (DIY or send-away), kits range in price from $22-$380.

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Pollution We Can’t See.

The unanticipated reality indicates potential health consequences for millions exposed and introduces uncharted legal territory: pollution we can’t see. Next to climate change, America’s vulnerability to forever chemicals is the most urgent moving spot indicator on our national radar.1

A painful study released on July 5, 2023, by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced that PFAS (pronounced PEE-fuhs) pose a far worse health crisis after being traced to half of the tap water running from U.S. watersheds to American faucets. The latest research also confirms the extent of harm is significantly greater than previously understood.

So far the PFAS lawsuit has focused on municipal water pollution and expensive countermeasures, with civil action seeing massive settlements from DuPont, Chemours, and Corteva (collectively $1.9B) and 3M ($10.3B) appropriated to hundreds of public water providers for expensive cleanup, removal, and containment.

Now, however, the focus is changing to individuals exposed to PFAS in drinking water after living in an area where the water supply is contaminated above HAL levels of PFAS for at least one year and firefighters exposed to AFFF while on the job.

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The latest research confirms the extent of harm from PFAS is significantly greater than previously understood.

The Swiftest EPA Action in U.S. History.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) moved with unprecedented speed to lower PFAS safety limits to 1/10th current levels. PFOA and PFOS, considered among the most potent compounds, are first up to be finalized for new EPA safety regulations pledged by end of year 2023.

In March 2023 the Biden-Harris administration announced the first-ever national drinking water standard for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), the group of synthetic chemicals created by DuPont in 1946 to resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water.

After the EPA was jolted in 2021 by hard evidence that 200 million Americans (revised up from 143 million) had already been endangered from exposure via public water systems, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Protection) recommended in June 2022 that EPA set new safety limits 90% lower than existing standards.

Out of 12,000 compounds (revised up from 4,000), at least 6 – PFOA; PFOS; PFHxS; HFPO–DA and its ammonium salt; PFNA; and PFBS; and a new group categorized under the umbrella GenX – are known to cause cancer and other illnesses in humans, according to the CDC.

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Imminent Enforcement.

Maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) are the highest level of a contaminant allowed in drinking water. New EPA safety regs propose 4 parts per trillion (ppt). To put 4 parts per trillion in perspective, imagine less than 1 drop to 5 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Previously, toxic substances have only been measured in parts per billion (ppb). PFAS are that potent.

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Can PFAS Be Destroyed?

“Due to the high cost of disposal as well as uncertainties concerning the final fate of PFAS, there is a growing need for new PFAS destruction technologies.”2

So far, incineration at more than 1000ºC (1832ºF) is believed by some to be 99.9% effective – but the temperature must be hot enough. At 500ºC, “incomplete incineration” only breaks the chemicals into smaller particles, possibly enabling them to move and settle faster.

Ball milling (grinding) is another technology. The process mixes PFAS and additives with steel balls at high speeds. When the balls and additives collide, the carbon-fluorine bonds are theoretically broken and converted to less harmful products.

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How We Can Help

A Case for Justice (ACFJ) only works with attorneys who operate on a contingency-fee basis, which means you pay no fees unless your case has a successful outcome. There is no fee for our services. Over the last 7 years, ACFJ has helped tens of thousands of people harmed by institutional neglect or absence of fair warning labels, including: Paraquat; Roundup; Camp Lejeune; CPAP; AFFF firefighting foam; and the Ohio Train Derailment.

We believe in justice for all, regardless of one’s bank account. And we believe if one person steps up to seek justice, many more will follow. With your help, this is how we will continue leveraging change-the-world impact, together.

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Sources

  1. 1Terry Turner and Kim Borwick, “Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), CN/Consumer Notice,” September 21, 2022.
  2. ATSDR Staff, “What Are PFAS?” Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, November 1, 2022.
  3. Unnamed, “For 50 Years, Polluters Knew PFAS Chemicals Were Dangerous But Hid Risks From Public,” Environmental Working Group (EWG), August 28, 2019.