PFAS Chemicals Found in Nearly Half of Nation’s Tap Water Supply: Report

The findings of a new study suggest that toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) like perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS), and perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA) are present in approximately 45% of the U.S. drinking water supply, with the highest level of contamination found in tap water supplies in urban areas. If you or someone you love has suffered adverse health effects allegedly caused by exposure to harmful, cancer-causing PFAS in drinking water, do not hesitate to speak to an experienced attorney about your legal options. You may have grounds to file a legal claim against the company or companies responsible for the PFAS water contamination, in order to pursue the financial compensation you and your loved ones deserve.

What are PFAS and Where Do They Come From?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are a group of manmade chemicals that contain a strong carbon-fluorine bond. The chemicals were originally developed in the 1940s, and while they have been used in many different consumer products, from nonstick cookware to cleaning products to water-resistant fabrics, most PFAS water contamination concerns in the U.S. stem from PFAS in aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF). AFFF is a type of foam used to fight certain types of high-hazard fires, including those started by flammable liquids. For decades, AFFF has been widely used by the military and civilian firefighters during training and response exercises, leading to the widespread contamination of groundwater and drinking water supplies, especially in areas surrounding military bases, airports, and fire training centers.

Side Effects Linked to PFAS Exposure

The primary concern regarding PFAS is that they do not break down in the environment, hence the ominous moniker “forever chemicals.” There are thousands of different PFAS, the two most common being PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctanoic sulfonic acid), and over time, these chemicals can accumulate in the environment and the human body, posing serious health risks. Among the myriad medical problems associated with PFAS exposure are: 

  • Kidney cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Breast cancer
  • Thyroid disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Leukemia
  • Endometrial cancer

PFAS Present in 45% of Drinking-Water Samples

While PFOA and PFOS specifically have been phased out of use in commercial products, the toxic chemicals are still present in the environment and in some firefighting foam products. A number of studies published in recent years have raised red flags about PFAS use and the lasting impact these chemicals can have on the environment and human health, particularly with regard to contaminated drinking water supplies. In one report published in the August 2023 issue of Environmental International, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) say they detected at least one PFAS in 45% of drinking-water samples collected from 716 locations across the U.S. between 2016 and 2021. According to their research, which assessed PFAS concentrations in both unregulated private wells and regulated public water systems in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the most common PFAS were perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS) and perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA).

This new report comes just a few months after the EPA proposed new drinking water standards for six PFAS chemicals, including perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), hexafluoropropylene oxide-dimer acid (HFPO-DA), perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS), and perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS), as well as PFOA and PFOS. “Exposure to PFAS through drinking water is a global human-health concern,” the USGS scientists warn in their new report. And as new information emerges about the potential for PFAS exposure in contaminated drinking water to cause cancer and other adverse health effects in humans, chemical manufacturers face thousands of AFFF lawsuits and PFAS water contamination lawsuits filed by former firefighters and others across the country.

Find Out if You are Eligible to File a PFAS Contamination Claim

Just last month, chemical manufacturer 3M Company confirmed that it would pay up to $12.5 billion to resolve claims that PFAS chemicals used in products like firefighting foam contaminated the water supply in cities and communities across the U.S. If you or a loved one was exposed to PFAS chemicals from aqueous film-forming foam or contaminated drinking water, contact Consumer Safety Watch as soon as possible. You may be entitled to damages for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, which you can pursue by filing a product liability lawsuit against the company responsible for manufacturing the PFAS or firefighting foam to which you were exposed. 

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