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PFAS exposure at Vandenberg Space Force Base

Located in Santa Barbara County, California, 240 kilometers north of Los Angeles, Vandenberg Air Force Base has approximately 99,000 acres of land and 35 miles of coastline stretching along the Pacific Ocean. This is the country's sole military facility dedicated to launching unmanned satellites into polar orbit. In addition, they conduct space and missile tests. The base was originally established as Camp Cooke, an Army garrison for tank, infantry, and artillery training, in 1941, at about the same time that PFAS chemicals started to become widely used.

These chemicals, which are now confirmed or suspected at over 600 military sites, are utilized in a firefighting foam known as aqueous film-forming foam. Vandenberg Space Force Base is one of five military bases in California that have been identified as having the highest levels of PFAS contamination in the nation. These chemicals have been employed in firefighting and training for decades. PFAS contamination may result in a slew of potential health issues for those who live on or near the base. According to the EPA, these chemicals have been related to cancer, low infant birth rates, immune system suppression, and alteration of thyroid hormone production.

Vandenberg Space Force Base supports West Coast launch operations for the Air Force, the Department of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, national projects, and numerous private sector contractors. The Air Force conducted a base-wide assessment of existing information at the base in 2015 to detect possible PFOS and PFOA emissions caused by AFFF usage and storage. Five release locations were identified:

  • three sites adjacent to the airfield/fire training area
  • two sites where tanker trucks overturned and fuel was spilled (corner of Highway 101 and California Boulevard in 1992 and at Highway 101 and Santa Lucia Canyon Road in 2006).

What toxic agents are present on Vandenberg Space Force Base?

During WWII and the Korean War, the facility was utilized for Army tanks, infantry, and artillery training. The station was handed to the newly created United States Air Force in 1957 and was quickly converted into the nation's West Coast space and missile center, which is today known as Vandenberg Space Force Base.

According to a report by the state Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Air Force conducted a site assessment between 2018 and 2019 to sample and test for PFAS at five Vandenberg Air Force Base release locations identified for further investigation in a preliminary assessment report. According to the state board, the evaluation discovered PFAS - the chemicals that are very difficult to degrade in both the environment and the human body - at levels above screening criteria in all five sites. The greatest level of detection in groundwater was discovered in the old fire training area next to the airport. The results indicated that PFOS was present in concentrations of 150,000 parts per trillion (ppt), PFOA in concentrations of 8,200 ppt, and PFBS in concentrations of 1,100 ppt.

The initial stages in the cleaning of PFAS contaminants on Vandenberg Space Force Base have been completed. To establish cleaning priorities, the assessment ranks contaminated locations based on their hazard ratings. Next, a remedial evaluation is carried out to decide how cleaning is handled at the sites.

What illnesses is PFAS exposure associated with?

In the U.S., over 98% of the population has detectable levels of these chemicals in their blood, but the greatest levels of contamination have been reported at airports, military installations, and industrial facilities that employed at least two chemical strains in the PFOS and PFOA chemical families. These two compounds were included in firefighting foam, which was often tested on military facilities, as well as hundreds of other consumer goods with the main aim of repelling water and oil.

The following is a comprehensive list of the health issues associated with PFAS exposure, as well as the diagnoses that make you qualified to file a toxic exposure claim:

In most cases, the consequences of hazardous chemical exposure are not immediately apparent. In fact, more often than not, this harm is subtle and cumulative over time. This implies that proving responsibility for toxic exposure is a difficult process since the liable parties will often claim that other variables have had just as much of an impact on the illness as the presumed cause.

Contact Atraxia Law to learn more about your legal options for obtaining financial compensation

Have you been exposed to PFAS chemicals on Vandenberg Space Force Base? Are you struggling with a painful, debilitating illness? If the answer is yes, the best approach to get useful information about your case and how to maximize your compensation is to speak with an expert. Our process is easy and quick. During a 10-minute phone call, we will be able to tell you if you qualify to file a PFAS claim. If you do a skilled attorney will file your claim as soon as possible.

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