PFOA in Rainwater, Study Warns

PFOA in Rainwater, Study Warns

August 23, 2023

Forever chemicals, like PFOA and PFOS, are everywhere in our environment, according to a newly-published study.

These industrial chemicals spread in the atmosphere and are now found across the globe, including in rainwater, snow, soil, and even human blood. “Based on the latest U.S. guidelines for PFOA in drinking water, rainwater everywhere would be judged unsafe to drink,” Ian Cousins, PhD, the lead study author and a professor of environmental science at Stockholm University, said in a statement. “Although in the industrial world we don’t often drink rainwater, many people around the world expect it to be safe to drink, and it supplies many of our drinking water sources,” he added.

U.S. manufacturers have largely phased out PFOA and PFOS over the last two decades, although some products still use them.

What is PFOA?

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) are part of a large group of synthetic chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). In the early 2000s, DuPont and other companies stopped using these substances. But for decades prior to then, various companies heavily relied on these chemicals, although the companies knew they posed serious health risks to humans.

This reliance usually involved any substance that formed a barrier against another substance. Examples include Stainmaster carpet, nonstick cookware coating, and animal taxidermy materials. Most significantly, firefighting departments used PFOA-laced foam to contain extremely hot jet fuel and other fires.

This knowledge dates back to the early 1950s, when DuPont cautioned factories that used PFOA to treat it as a hazardous substance, even though it wasn’t classified as hazardous at the time. About ten years later, laboratory tests, which revealed that PFOA enlarged the livers of laboratory animals, confirmed the company’s suspicions. However, DuPont did nothing to warn workers or other people about the risks.

Instead, companies continued to rely on these dangerous substances. Now, many people outside these companies are paying the price.

Why Should I Care?

Many researchers have linked forever chemicals, like PFOA and PFOS, to long-term serious illnesses that are often fatal. These illnesses include:

  • Reproductive health issues, like miscarriage, low birth weight, and birth defects,
  • Testicular, pancreatic, kidney, liver, and other forms of cancer,
  • Cardiovascular disease, like high blood pressure and stroke,
  • Kidney disease,
  • Liver disease,
  • Colitis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, type one diabetes, and other autoimmune diseases,
  • Type two diabetes,
  • Respiratory disease,
  • Neurological disease, especially in children, and
  • Osteoarthritis.

The latency period for many of these diseases, including cancer, is more than thirty years. So, people who were exposed to these chemicals in the 1980s and 1990s, when many of them were children, may just now show signs of illness.

Children are especially at risk for PFOA poisoning, lead poisoning, and other such illnesses. Proportionally, these chemicals have a much worse effect on their bodies.

On average, standard cancer treatments cost over $10,000 a month. Cutting-edge treatments, which doctors often recommend in advanced cases, could cost two or three times that amount. Most group health companies refuse to cover injury-related expenses, and most families cannot possibly afford to pay these bills out of their own pockets.

A Los Angeles personal injury attorney can connect victims with leading doctors in their fields who charge nothing upfront for their services.

What Can I Do About It?

The delayed discovery rule, which has several variations, usually applies in PFOA water contamination and other environmental poisoning claims. Victims have no legal obligation to file claims until:

  • They are fully aware of the entire extent of their injuries, and
  • They connect those injuries to a person or company’s wrongful conduct.

This rule is especially strong in California. That’s good news for people who lived or worked on or near John Wayne Airport, LAX, Long Beach Airport, or another similar facility in SoCal. This extended protection also applies to veterans who served at Los Angeles AFB, Holderman Hall, or another military facility in the area.

The bottom line is that, no matter how long ago the exposure occurred, a Los Angeles personal injury attorney can stand up for your legal and financial rights.

These legal rights allow victims to bring public actions against the company or entity, even if that entity was a federal government agency, like the Department of Defense, which caused their illnesses. Such public actions force these companies to accept responsibility for the injuries they recklessly caused.

Your financial rights include the right to compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and in many cases, noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. If a victim presents clear and convincing evidence of an intentional disregard of a known risk, additional punitive damages may be available as well. PFAS environmental contamination causes serious and long-term injuries. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Los Angeles, contact the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim & Sharona Hakim, Attorneys. We routinely handle these matters on a nationwide basis.

Credit: Photo on Freepik

Sharona Hakim

Sharona Eslamboly Hakim, Esq. is a successful personal injury attorney and the principal of the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim firm in Beverly Hills, California.

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