The Minnesota National Guard's Camp Ripley, located near Little Falls in central Minnesota, is one of several military facilities throughout the country that has been contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
Camp Ripley was established in 1931 as a Minnesota National Guard training facility. Previously, the location was known as Fort Ripley, which was inhabited by the Army from 1949 until 1977. It functioned as a training facility for thousands of soldiers during World War II. To accommodate winter training, base staff extended the facility to incorporate permanent troop housing. As of today, Camp Ripley continues to serve as a training site for troops from the Minnesota National Guard, with a particular emphasis on small weapons and small tank training as well as winter warfare, combat support, engineering, aviation, and armor.
Aqueous film-forming foam has been manufactured by numerous companies for many years. The companies knew about the health risks associated with PFAS for decades, however, they continued to produce and sell the AFFF products to fire departments, airports, and industries. The highest levels of PFAS pollutants have been found near hundreds of military installations across the nation, including Camp Ripley, where the firefighting foam was used for training and for emergency responses.
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment, groundwater at a Minnesota National Guard facility was contaminated with various types of toxic chemicals, including two of the most popular fluorochemicals, PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid). The site in question is Camp Ripley, a 53,000-acre, state-owned military base managed by the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs. The detections occurred in 2017.
However, while Camp Ripley did not contain PFAS levels exceeding the Environmental Protection Agency's lifetime health advisory of 70 parts per trillion, the EPA's advisory threshold is more than 70 times higher than the 1 part per trillion safety limit discovered by several independent studies and endorsed by the Environmental Working Group. Some jurisdictions have established restrictions ranging from 11 to 20 ppt.
The levels of PFAS detected at Camp Ripley were far higher than 1 ppt. The concentration of PFAS measured was 18.39 ppt. Known as "forever chemicals" due to their inability to degrade in the environment or living tissue, PFAS are known to have severe health consequences in humans, including low birth weights and cancer, though the exact levels at which they are harmful are still up for debate among scientists.
In addition to PFAS, several semi-volatile organic compounds are also contaminating the environment of this Minnesota National Guard-operated military training site, such as:
When these hazardous chemicals are not handled correctly or disposed of appropriately, they may represent a considerable risk to anybody who comes into contact with them.
In the past decade, PFAS substances have been linked to a variety of health problems as well as environmental contamination. The PFAS concentration detected at Camp Ripley is much greater than most experts think is safe for the military personnel and civilians who work and train at the facility, as well as those who reside nearby. The following is a comprehensive list of health issues associated with PFAS exposure, as well as the diagnoses that qualify military members and their families for compensation:
If you have been diagnosed with one of these conditions, you should contact our team of legal experts. They will assist you in filing a toxic exposure claim and obtaining the financial compensation you deserve for your suffering.
We advocate for our men and women in uniform who served on active duty at military installations with high levels of PFAS contamination, assisting them in getting the compensation they deserve. For further information on whether you qualify for a claim, please contact us at any time for a no-obligation consultation. During a 10-minute phone call, we will establish if you meet the preliminary requirements, and if you do, a skilled PFAS attorney will file a claim on your behalf.
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