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PFAS exposure at Naval Station Norfolk

Founded in 1917, Naval Station Norfolk is the headquarters and home port of the Fleet Forces Command of the U.S. Navy. It is located in Norfolk, Virginia. The military installation covers approximately 4 miles of waterfront space and 11 miles of pier and wharf space of the Hampton Roads peninsula that is known as Sewell’s Point. Over 100,000 flight operations are carried out every year on Naval Station Norfolk by the Air Operations. This means that one flight is conducted every 6 minutes.

According to the Department of Defense, the site of Naval Station Norfolk is heavily contaminated with PFAS. Multiple other adjacent military installations have this serious problem, such as Joint Base Langley-Eustis, NAS Oceana, and Fentress Naval Auxiliary Landing Field. In 2018, the Department of Defense found 29 areas of Naval Station Norfolk to have a concentration of PFAS in the environment that greatly exceeded the permissible limit of 70 parts per trillion.

In 1975, the Department of Defense launched a program meant to assess the degree of contamination on military bases, as well as to pinpoint environmental contamination stemming from past hazardous materials management practices. Soon, Naval Station Norfolk was deemed a Superfund site, and it was only in 2010 that the Environmental Protection Agency completed its cleanup efforts, a series of operations whose cost was $100 million.

What hazardous agents are present on Naval Station Norfolk?

Although Naval Station Norfolk is relatively safe now, it is important to acknowledge the past presence of PFAS on the site of the military base, as many members of the military and civilians were exposed to these harmful chemicals. The source of PFAS on the military base was the use of AFFF by military firefighters to put out fires stemming from flammable liquids and gases. While very effective, AFFF contains large amounts of PFAS, which are inevitably released into the environment when the fire suppressant is employed.

PFAS are "forever chemicals," which means that they do not break down in the environment unless organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency take measures to remove them. Similarly, if they enter the body, PFAS cannot be eliminated, and their existence can lead to the occurrence of serious diseases over the years.

It is worthy of note that in addition to PFAS, the Environmental Working Group and the Environmental Protection Agency identified other contaminants lurking on Naval Station Norfolk, most of which no longer represent a danger, which are the following:

  • arsenic
  • benzene
  • antimony
  • cadmium
  • acetone
  • carbon tetrachloride
  • haloacetic acids
  • chloroform
  • bromodichloromethane
  • chromium
  • ethylbenzene
  • lead
  • manganese
  • nickel
  • mercury
  • toluene

Even though it is not known for how long these contaminants were polluting Naval Station Norfolk, one thing is for sure: for a period of time, people stationed there were exposed to these dangerous agents, which only worsened the degree of toxic exposure. If you spent time there, you should keep a close eye on your health and, for your wellbeing, periodically visit your doctor for a routine checkup. In the regrettable case that you develop a disease, the sooner it is diagnosed, the more effective treatment will be.

How can exposure to PFAS affect the health of people who stayed at Naval Station Norfolk?

Because they are so toxic, PFAS can lead to the development of countless diseases, the most terrible being cancer, which can affect multiple parts of your body, depending on where the highest concentration of these chemicals is located. Nevertheless, PFAS exposure can result in other serious health issues as well, which, in most cases, require long-term treatment. Here are all the diseases exposure to PFAS is responsible for:

We provide quality legal assistance to victims of toxic exposure

If you suffer from one of the above-mentioned health problems, we encourage you to reach out to our experienced team, who will assist you with filing a toxic exposure claim so that you can benefit from the financial compensation you deserve. The legal process will be very easy for you, as we will make sure the majority of the paperwork is efficiently handled by us.

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