PFOA and PFOS Contamination

Perfluoroalkyl Substances PFAS

PFAS, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluoroctane sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA ) are unregulated chemicals which are toxic and extremely persistent in the environment and the human body. Volumes of information have been written on the dangers PFOA. There has also been a substantial lobbying effort by the chemical industry over time to downplay the risks. But know that the risks are very real and long-lasting.

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, also known as C8) is a chemical used in the manufacture of non-stick surfaces and other products. It is a toxic substance, even at low levels, and has been linked to cancers of the kidneys and testicles, colitis, thyroid disease, and severe birth defects when the mother has been exposed.

PFOA and PFOS Compounds

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established a health advisory for PFOA and PFOS. These potentially harmful chemicals are part of a family of compounds known as per fluoroalkyl chemicals, used for decades in a variety of commercial products, including:

  • Teflon and other stain- and water-resistant items
  • Gore-Tex jackets
  • Lubricants
  • Paper and textile coatings
  • Fire-retarding foams
  • Food packaging
  • Polishes
  • Cleaning products

PFOA, also known as C8, can also be released when other chemicals, such as those used in water-, stain- and grease-resistant products, break down. These compounds tend to accumulate in groundwater and drinking water near facilities where they are used in manufacturing, putting the population in these areas at risk for contamination. The EPA has set the health advisory level at 70 parts per trillion (ppt) to help protect residents from long-term PFOA and PFOS exposure. The agency’s original advisory called for a maximum level of 400 ppt, but later lowered the standard on the basis of expanding research.

Risks of PFOA and PFOS Contamination

The health effects of PFOA and PFOS have been widely studied. The C8 Science Panel, created through the settlement of a class-action suit against DuPont, established probable links between PFOA and PFOS and a number of health issues, including:

  • Thyroid disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Kidney and testicular cancers
  • Liver tissue damage
  • Immune deficiency
  • Pregnancy complications, including hypertension and fetal development issues

PFOA and PFOS have high bioaccumulation rates and can remain in the body for years before they are flushed out. Most Americans have a low level of PFOA in their blood, but prolonged exposure can result in serious illness.

Decreased Usage of Dangerous Compounds

Concerns about the negative effects of PFOA and PFOS contamination have led to decreased usage, with global emissions reduced by about half since 1999. In 2006, the EPA established a program to encourage companies to make this transition, with the goal of eliminating their usage by 2015. Manufacturing giant 3M Co. discontinued the company’s use of similar compounds in 2002, but there are still many companies utilizing PFOA and PFOS. DuPont, Honeywell International, and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics have all faced major lawsuits in recent years as areas surrounding their facilities have reported contamination rates as high as 18,000 ppt.

Local and state governments have also come under fire for failing to notify residents in a timely matter that they may be at risk. The EPA conducts regular tests and informs government officials if their area is contaminated. However, unless immediate action is taken, including notifying affected populations and providing bottled water, residents may continue using contaminated water and not realize they are being exposed to toxic chemicals until it is too late.

If you are looking for information and support check out Buxmont Coalition for Safer Water

Our experience in PFAS cases

We have filed a number of lawsuits to fight for victims of PFAS contamination

A lawsuit on behalf of a family who, for years, drank water contaminated by PFAS coming from a nearby Naval Base. We sued the U.S. Government for blood testing and medical monitoring for early detection of disease.

A lawsuit on behalf of the owners of a property contaminated by chemical runoff from a nearby Naval Base. We sued the U.S. Government for the unconstitutional taking of their property.

A lawsuit on behalf of cancer victims who drank the contaminated water against the manufacturers of toxic fire fighting foam.

In South Jersey, where a large area has been contaminated by PFNA coming from the Solvay Specialty Polymers Plant in West Deptford, we filed a class action for the residents of Paulsboro who drank the contaminated water. This resulted in a settlement which paid for Paulsboro residents to have their blood tested for PFNA. A preliminary analysis of these results of that blood testing by scientists at Rutgers has found that Paulsboro residents have much higher blood levels of PFNSA than the general population, and those with higher levels of PFNSA tend to have higher levels of blood cholesterol.

We have also represented a number of private well owners whose drinking water was contaminated by PFNA coming from the Solvay plant.

The Cuker Law Firm is here to help if your community suspects PFAS contamination is endangering your water supply. We will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine who is responsible for your toxic exposure and pursue the compensation to which you are entitled.

Our knowledgeable, dedicated lawyers have experience with all types of environmental toxic tort cases, including water contamination. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve clients both locally and nationally.