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End-Stage Renal Disease Due to Toxic Exposure on Military Bases

Pollution from military-affiliated operations, industrial sources, and natural causes has invaded waterways and drinking water sources, exposing military service members, their families, and nearby communities. According to study results, exposure to certain toxic chemicals may elevate the risk for adverse kidney impacts.

Toxic substances that can elicit damage to the kidney via alteration in its structure and function, include:

  • per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)
  • cadmium
  • mercury
  • arsenic
  • lead
  • trichloroethylene
  • bromate
  • brominated-flame retardants
  • ethylene glycol

Researchers have found evidence that continuous or repeated contact with toxic substances on military bases may contribute to poor kidney health. Scientists found many adverse outcomes linked to exposure to PFAS because the kidneys are the primary means by which the body eliminates these chemicals. They discovered that some of the studies had already suggested that PFAS substances are associated with worse kidney outcomes.

Certain volatile organic compounds, a large group of chemicals that are used in many activities, e.g. printing, surface cleaning, vehicle coating, and dry cleaning, were also associated with renal failure.

For instance, trichloroethylene, widely used by the US military as a metal degreaser in the maintenance of tanks and aircraft, can damage the kidneys, causing protein and sugar to leak from the blood into the urine.

Studies Have Established the Adverse Effects of Toxic Agents on Renal Function

As for some of the epidemiologic studies reviewed, several reported a significant association between PFAS exposure and a decrease in kidney function, marked by a growing prevalence of chronic kidney disease.

End-stage renal disease, also known as end-stage renal failure, is the last stage (stage five) of chronic kidney disease, where kidney function has declined to the point that it has stopped working well enough to keep you alive without dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Kidneys are important organs that play many vital roles in homeostasis by regulating body fluids' concentration and volume. When kidney function is this low, they cannot effectively remove waste products and excess fluid from the body.

Kidneys are also responsible for other functions that support the body, such as maintaining electrolyte concentrations and producing several essential hormones. The kidneys of people with end-stage renal disease are functioning below 10 percent of their normal capacity.

If you were stationed at one of the targeted military bases and experience the following symptoms, we strongly advise you to seek medical attention immediately, as you may have developed a renal disease as a consequence of toxic exposure:

  • decreased urine output
  • pain felt in the sides of the middle to upper back
  • swelling of feet and ankles
  • persistent itching
  • shortness of breath
  • easy bruising or bleeding
  • nausea and vomiting

Injured Military Veterans May Receive Medical Care and Disability Compensation From the VA

Patients with advanced chronic kidney disease have a high symptom burden and poor quality of life, so they might be offered palliative care to help manage their symptoms and prepare them for the end of their lives.

People who do hemodialysis can also have hard time managing symptoms and may benefit from palliative care alongside this procedure.

In the regrettable event that you or a family member developed chronic kidney disease following exposure to PFAS, as well as to other toxic agents, while you were stationed at a targeted military facility, do not hesitate to contact Atraxia Law, and our team of experts will gladly help you recover the financial compensation you deserve for your injury.

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