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Cardiac Defects Due to Toxic Exposure on Military Bases

Pregnant women who resided at military facilities may have come in contact with harmful levels of chemicals and by doing so inadvertently exposed their fetuses.

According to epidemiological studies, babies born to mothers exposed to environmental toxicants while pregnant are four times more likely to have congenital anomalies than babies born to mothers who lived off-base.

Toxic substances that have an ability to cross the placenta barrier and to accumulate in fetal tissues, include:

  • PFAS compounds
  • trichloroethylene (TCE)
  • vinyl chloride
  • volatile organic components (e.g., benzene, acetaldehyde, ethylbenzene, formaldehyde, methylene chloride, tetrachloroethylene, toluene, xylene, and 1,3-butadiene)
  • heavy metals (e.g. mercury, lead, cadmium, manganese)

A pregnant woman's exposure to these toxic substances during the first two to eight weeks of pregnancy, when the baby's heart is developing, can increase the chance of having a baby born with a heart defect.

In the 1970s, the Department of Defense began using PFAS to fight fuel fires, also called Class B fires. The release of these chemicals into the environment during testing, training, and life-saving emergency responses is a major source of the PFAS contamination of groundwater on several military bases in the United States.

Veterans who served at PFAS-contaminated military installations are eligible for cost-free healthcare from the VA. By law, the VA provides reimbursement for out-of-pocket healthcare costs for veterans' family members, including children born to mothers who drank PFAS-contaminated water at military facilities.

Other sources of pollution include the dumping of chemicals both on and off-base and from toxins leaking from underground storage tanks. For instance, trichloroethylene (TCE) was widely used by the military as a degreasing solvent for machine parts and aircraft, long before there was public knowledge about its health effects or concern about effective disposal of hazardous waste. 

Chronic Exposure to Toxins on Military Bases Can Lead to Pediatric Cardiac Defects

Evidence has been mounting that the cardiovascular system is sensitive to particular environmental cues throughout gestation and after birth. Fetal and early childhood environmental exposures can impair cardiovascular health and function.

In addition, risk factors such as smoking, family history, chronic diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, can strongly affect cardiovascular health, sometimes by interacting with the effects of environmental exposures.

A congenital defect, also sometimes referred to as "congenital heart disease," is an abnormality or structural problem of the heart or circulatory system that an infant is born with.  These abnormalities may affect heart structure, including the arteries, valves, chambers, and the wall of tissue that separates the chambers called the atrial septum.

Common types of congenital heart defects, which can affect the structure of the heart or great vessels, include:

  • aortic stenosis
  • atrial septal defect (ASD)
  • coarctation of the aorta (COA)
  • Ebstein anomaly
  • patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
  • patent foramen ovale (PFO)
  • tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)
  • truncus arteriosus
  • ventricular septal defect (VSD)

If you or a loved one has suffered one or more of these complications, you may be entitled to monetary compensation to help you cover current and future medical bills.

We Assist Parents of Children with Cardiac Defects Due to Toxic Exposure on Military Bases

If you or a loved one is suffering from a health condition linked to water contamination at military bases, Atraxia Law can help you receive not only medical care but the financial compensation to which you are entitled. 

Our team of experts has substantial experience and legal knowledge to handle these kinds of claims. Your initial consultation is free of charge, and we will answer any questions you might have. Atraxia Law is ready to provide you with the legal support and compensation you deserve.

We have a proven track record of successful results in helping clients recover damages resulting from continuous or repeated contact with toxic substances on military bases.

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