Dubbed by some as “the new asbestos,” a class of more than 4,000 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals form the roots of a vast new crop of lawsuits, as water supplies across the country emerge contaminated by the chemicals, and increasing numbers of people report suffering ill health from exposure.
If you have suffered an injury or illness or have experienced the death of a loved one as the result of exposure to PFAS chemicals, you deserve to collect compensation to help pay for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses. Tosi Law LLP can help you get the justice you deserve.
Understanding PFAS—the “Forever Chemicals”
PFAS have come to be known by many as “forever chemicals,” as a nod to their resistance to breaking down and their tendency to accumulate easily.
These chemicals comprise a wide range of synthetic substances that have been applied since the 1940s to a large number of products, both commercial and industrial, such as stain-resistant carpeting, firefighting foam, nonstick cookware, and water-resistant shoes and clothing.
Health Effects of PFAS
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)'s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), animals who were exposed to high levels of PFAS experienced changes in their hormone levels, as well as the functionality of their thyroid, pancreas, and liver.
The agency further reports that some PFAs affect humans by:
- Increasing their cholesterol levels
- Reducing a female's chance of becoming pregnant
- Increasing cancer risk
- Undermining immune systems
- Impacting behavior, learning, and growth of babies and older kids
- Disrupting natural hormones in the body
How Exposure to PFAS Happens
Because PFAS are used in so many products, opportunities for exposure are vast, according to ATSDR. However, the greatest levels of exposure to these harmful chemicals occur when you:
- Drink water (municipal or from a private well) that has been contaminated
- Consume fish that came from PFAS-contaminated water
- Swallow PFAS-contaminated dust or soil
- Eat food packaged in PFAS-containing packaging
- Use certain PFAS-based products, like water-repellant apparel, stain-resistant carpeting, and non-stick cookware
Consumer Products That Contain PFAS
Risk of PFAS exposure from consumer products is relatively low, compared with the risk from drinking PFAS water. Still, many products contain PFAS, including the following:
- Cleaning products
- Paints, sealants, varnishes
- Fast-food containers
- Nonstick cookware
- Grease-resistant paper
- Water-resistant apparel
- Pizza boxes
- Cosmetics (eye makeup and nail polish)
- Personal care products (dental floss and shampoo)
- Candy wrappers
- Microwave popcorn bags
Exposure at Work
People who work in factories or plants that make products that contain PFAS suffer the greatest risk of exposure—much more so than the general population.
Research About PFAS
According to analyses conducted by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), 110 million U.S. residents have been impacted by the presence of PFAS in their local supplies at levels of 2.5 parts per trillion (ppt) or higher. According to EWG, exposure to PFAS is safe at around 1 ppt.
The pervasiveness of the chemicals has prompted many governmental bodies and landowners to file lawsuits against the manufacturers who use PFAS in their manufacturing processes. Damages sought will go toward the cost of removing the hazardous chemicals from the environment and general cleanup.
PFAS Lawsuit Activity
Manufacturers, chemical companies, and even the U.S. military are defending themselves in lawsuits filed by against them for their contamination of water supplies across the country. These cases include class-action lawsuits in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Colorado, and New York.
A Nationwide claim also represents individuals who have suffered from exposure to PFAS. Various state governments and utility companies also sit front and center in lawsuits aiming to recover costs of environmental cleanup and remediation.
Recent Lawsuits Filed
- The utilities of Westfield, Massachusetts, entered a claim of $47 million for the expenses of remediating groundwater PFAS from firefighting foams applied at Westfield-Barnes Regional Airport. Two of the city's eight wells were shut down in response to the contamination, with a third well being used solely for emergencies.
- According to the New Hampshire University Social Science Environmental Heath Research Institute, the state of New Hampshire announced lawsuits against companies involved in the manufacture and distribution of PFAS, namely 3M, the Chemours Company, DuPont, Tyco Fire Products, Buckeye Fire Equipment, National Foam, Inc., and Kiddie-Fenwal. The lawsuits allege that the defendants knew about the dangers of the chemicals but continued to manufacture and sell them, all without issuing a public warning of the risks. Although a dollar figure was not attached to the lawsuit, they will seek to recover costs of cleanup, contamination response, and expenses of the investigation. The CDC reports that new Hampshire's rates of breast, pediatric, esophageal, and bladder cancer are the highest in the country.
Recent PFAS Settlements
Several hefty settlements speak to the vigor and success with which plaintiffs are demanding compensation for PFAS contamination. Among them:
Leach v. E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., Case No. 2:14-cv-23755
Around roughly 80,000 class members filed against a manufacturing facility close to the Ohio River Valley, claiming that they contaminated a minimum of six public water supplies in West Virginia and Ohio. DuPont and Chemours settled this class action lawsuit relating to one site for approximately $1 billion.
Minnesota v. 3M Co.
Alleging that 3M Co. damaged Minnesota's drinking water supply, wildlife, and other natural resources, the state filed a lawsuit against the company seeking $5 billion. The lawsuit was settled for $850 million.
How a PFAS Chemicals Lawsuit Lawyer Can Help You
A PFAS chemicals lawsuit lawyer can help you recover damages for the losses you sustained after your exposure to PFAS. To do this, your attorney will:
Investigate Your Use of PFAS
Whether your exposure to these harmful chemicals arises from source materials or from using secondary products, the type and saturation level of PFAS will factor into how your case is constructed and litigated.
Explore Defendants' Insurance Coverage
Many manufacturers' insurance policies will cover PFAS liabilities. Knowing for certain about this coverage, as well as the existence of any indemnity protection, will help your attorney strategize viable options for compensation.
Research the Defendants' PFAS-Related Policies and Procedures
Your lawyer will obtain documentation that shows how the defendant deals with waste disposal, as well as their safety procedures for exposure to PFAS chemicals.
Getting Help with Your PFAS Lawsuit
The legal team at Tosi Law LLP will fight for your right to recover damages related to your PFAS exposure. Call a PFAS chemicals lawsuit lawyer today at (888) 312-2518 for a free case review and consultation.
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