Located 35 miles east of Pensacola, Hurlburt Field Air Force Base was established in the early 1940s on the reservation of Eglin Air Force Base. Since the 1950s, the site has been used for surface-to-air missiles testing and launches, and it was involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis in the late 1960s. For Hurlburt Field Air Force Base, the sites most likely to have detectable PFAS contamination were the firefighter training areas where the aqueous film-forming foam was utilized during live-fire training exercises. Groundwater tests from firefighter training sites showed levels of PFOA and PFOS that exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency's lifetime health warning threshold of 70 parts per trillion (ppt).
Hurlburt Field had its start as a small practice facility for Eglin Field, which was significantly larger. Prior to being administratively separated from the rest of the Eglin Air Force Base complex in the 1950s, it was known as Eglin Auxiliary Field No. 9 and Eglin AFB Auxiliary Field 9/Hurlburt Field. In the late twentieth century, special operations training took over as the main mission of the facility. The facility serves as a home base for personnel from all military services. Among the troops stationed at the site are the Air Force Special Operations Command and the 1st Special Operations Wing.
At Hurlburt Field Air Force Base, there are 8,577 active-duty personnel, 1,200 civil service employees, and 10,541 family members. Because they were unavoidably exposed to PFAS on a daily basis, the health of all of these individuals is endangered.
PFAS-based foams, such as AFFF have been utilized to extinguish hydrocarbon fuel fires since the 1960s. After the fire has been extinguished, the film-forming foam covers the surface, preventing it from rekindling. Despite its effectiveness, little attention has been given to the impact of AFFF on the health of military personnel stationed at Hurlburt Field Air Force Base.
The problem is that PFAS substances are very resistant to environmental deterioration caused by natural processes such as decay and exposure to sunlight and weather. Once discharged into the environment, PFAS persists for a virtually infinite period of time. According to scientific research, the half-life (the time required for half of a material to disintegrate) of PFAS is 10,000 years. When discharged into drinking water, this substance has a half-life of more than a million years.
PFAS toxicity is assessed in parts per trillion and can be given in very low doses. However, the effects of toxic exposure may not be immediately apparent. It may take weeks, months, years, or even decades for someone who has been exposed to a hazardous substance to develop symptoms.
If you were stationed at Hurlburt Field Air Force Base, the following are the health issues that PFAS exposure may cause, as well as the diagnosis that would qualify you to file a toxic exposure claim:
As previously stated, PFAS does not degrade in the body and accumulates over time. There is substantial evidence that PFAS exposure causes adverse human health effects. Consequently, if you or a family member who was stationed with you at Hurlburt Field Air Force Base came to struggle with a linkable disease, we can help you determine if filing a claim is the right option for you.
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