The National Defense Authorization Act signed by President Trump included a provision that authorized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to undertake a five-year, $7 million study of health effects posed by long-term exposure to the perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) PFOA and PFOS. This funding is crucial to fully understanding the impact of these chemicals because scientific studies to date have been limited.
PFOA and PFOS persist in the environment for years and accumulate in the body. Exposure over one’s lifetime can lead to a number of health problems including testicular cancer, kidney cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, high cholesterol and pregnancy-induced hypertensions. Consequently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set a lifetime health advisory of exposure to PFOA and PFOS at 70 parts per trillion.
The extent of the public’s exposure to PFOA and PFOS was relatively unknown until the EPA tested certain water systems nationwide between 2013 and 2015. It discovered the drinking water for 5.2 million Americans had PFC levels higher than the EPA’s lifetime health advisory. Since then, a number of water systems and individuals across the country have filed lawsuits seeking compensation for the installation of filtration systems capable of removing these chemicals.
Our firm, along with Roger H. Bedford of Roger Bedford & Associates, has filed lawsuits on behalf of the water systems in Gadsden and Centre, Alabama. These complaints allege that carpet and textile companies, manufacturers, and chemical suppliers located upstream in Dalton, Georgia are responsible for contaminating the Coosa River and Weiss Lake. The lawsuits were filed to ensure that these entities, not ratepayers in Gadsden and Centre, would pay to decontaminate their drinking water.
Lawyers in our firm’s Toxic Torts Section are investigating other PFC contamination cases. If you have any questions about this subject, contact Rhon Jones, Rick Stratton, or Ryan Kral, lawyers in the Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Rhon.Jones@beasleyallen.com, Rick.Stratton@beasleyallen.com, or Ryan.Kral@beasleyallen.com.