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Fetal Death Due to Toxic Exposure on Military Bases

According to available documentation, hazardous chemicals have been found in the soil, groundwater, and even drinking water at nearly 700 military installations. Some of the toxic compounds that have been detected at levels above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s drinking water standards and advisories include:

  • PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) - EPA standard: 0.07 ppb; highest level found: 20.7 million parts per trillion of perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), a PFAS chemical, at the former England Air Force Base, near Alexandria, Louisiana;
  • TCE (trichloroethylene) - EPA standard: 5 ppb; highest level found: 1,400 parts per billion (ppb) in May 1982, at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, located in Jacksonville, North Carolina;
  • Arsenic - EPA standard: 10 ppb; highest level found: approximately 100 ppb, at the Naval Air Station Fallon, Nevada;
  • PCE (tetrachloroethylene) - EPA standard: 5 ppb; highest level found: 180 ppb, 36 times higher than the EPA’s current maximum contaminant, found at Camp Lejeune.

Other chemicals found at alarming concentrations, especially at or near U.S. military installations:

  • lead
  • vinyl chloride
  • benzene
  • ethylene glycol
  • formaldehyde
  • methylene chloride
  • toluene
  • xylene
  • 3-butadiene

Exposure to High Doses of PFAS Can Cause Pregnancy Loss and Infant Deaths in Animals, According to Toxicological Studies

To date, hundreds of active and former U.S. military installations are contaminated with perfluorinated chemicals, or PFAS, primarily due to firefighting aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) on its bases.

Beginning in the 1960s, researchers from the U.S. Navy Research Laboratory began testing a new class of firefighting foam able to extinguish hydrocarbon flammable liquid fires quite rapidly.

In the 1970s, just a decade later, this type of foam was widely used at municipal airports, military bases, fire departments, and oil refineries. Its role is to form an aqueous film that suppresses fuel vapor and prevents any further ignition type once a fire has been extinguished.

On the authority of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), studies in humans have proven that exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), the critical components in a majority of AFFF, may cause congenital disabilities, pregnancy loss, and infant deaths.

Fetal death in utero is given different names depending on the gestational growth of the fetus. Miscarriage, also known in medical terms as spontaneous abortion, is the natural death of an embryo or fetus before 20 weeks of gestation.

Stillbirth is often used when a baby dies in the womb after week 20 of the mother’s pregnancy. Regardless of the term used, the death of a baby in the womb is emotionally harrowing for the expectant parents. Stillbirth is classified based on how far along it occurs during pregnancy:

  • Early stillbirth - occurs between 20 and 27 completed weeks of gestation
  • Late stillbirth - occurs between 28 and 36 completed weeks of gestation
  • Term stillbirth - occurs after 37 completed weeks of gestation

In 1/3 of fetal death in utero cases, no cause is identified; the other 2/3 may be caused by:

  • Uterine rupture
  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Congenital birth defects
  • Umbilical cord complications
  • Placental abruption and other placental disorders
  • Placental dysfunction leading to fetal growth restriction

Severe congenital anomalies are an important cause of death around birth. Exposure to certain chemicals during the first trimester of pregnancy may increase the risk of these congenital anomalies.

In the regrettable event that you experienced pregnancy loss as the spouse of a military service member whom you were stationed with at a contaminated military base or as a female member of the military, we highly recommend you to seek the counsel and advice of a legal professional thoroughly experienced in the specific complexities of toxic-related claims.

Helping Families That Have Experienced a Fetal Death Due to Toxic Exposure on Military Bases

If you resided at a contaminated military base while you were pregnant as a female member of the military or wife of a service member and experienced fetal death, you would receive the maximum compensation available for your emotional distress if you decide to work with our skilled legal team.

Please contact Atraxia Law today, and we will clearly explain your legal options and handle the critical details associated with your claim while you focus on your recovery.

At Atraxia Law, our team of experts is wholly committed to seeking full compensation by thoroughly investigating your claim, uncovering medical records and other documents we need to advocate on your behalf.

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