Posted on 28th October, 2020
by Legal Staff
The health of our families and the resilience of our communities depend on the availability of both safe and clean water supplies. Unfortunately, the PFAS situation is a scary reality, and for people who live in areas with PFAS in their drinking water source, there is a really strong demand for information.
Firefighting foams - mainly used at airports, military bases, and industrial locations, have chemical properties and a propensity to migrate into groundwater supplies. Water and soil near military bases are rich in PFAS because of fire-fighting foams sprayed there during training exercises. Chemical companies and manufacturers of products that are marked as greaseproof, waterproof and, stain-resistant too often discard toxic waste containing PFAS directly into nearby rivers.
Due to the strength of multiple carbon-fluorine bonds, PFAS are chemically and biologically stable and highly resistant to environmental degradation. Dubbed "forever chemicals", per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances also resist breakdown in the human body, where they accumulate and remain for extended periods.
A recent study published by the Environmental Epidemiology outlines a host of health effects associated with PFAS exposure, including inflammatory bowel disease, with the two main subtypes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
Current knowledge suggests that late-onset ulcerative colitis is more linked to environmental risk factors and is associated with a lower genetic risk score compared to earlier onset. One of the main chemical groups that humans are exposed to through drinking water is perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
While simultaneously absorbs essential nutrients, the intestinal mucosal barrier prevents the entry of microorganisms and noxious substances. The disruption of the mucosal barrier, resulting in increased intestinal permeability, is believed to play a key role in the onset of ulcerative colitis.
An increased incidence of ulcerative colitis has previously been reported in response to the high exposure of PFOA through contaminated drinking water at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio.
If your drinking water has been tested and found to be contaminated above levels specified by the EPA or your state government, we recommend not using your water for drinking, food preparation, cooking, or any other manner of ingestion. The contaminated water shouldn't even be used to quench your garden and seedlings, because PFAS can be absorbed by the vegetables you eat.
Even though the use of some PFAS such as perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) have been either prohibited or restricted, exposure to these substances still occurs as they are still found in the environment.
Contact Atraxia Law today if you have been exposed to AFFF or PFAS-contaminated water and diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Mindful of the evolving landscape, we advise clients on possible liabilities regarding these emerging contaminants and help guide them through the related legal challenges to develop reasonable and effective cost-recovery strategies.