Military PFAS Lawsuits: Did You Get Sick from Contaminated Water?
Last Updated on November 22, 2022
At A Glance
- This Alert Affects:
- Anyone who lived on a military base and suspects they developed cancer or thyroid disease as a result of exposure to contaminated water.
- What’s Going On?
- DuPont, 3M and other companies that made firefighting foams used in military base training exercises are being sued over claims that, knowing their products contained PFAS chemicals that could contaminate local groundwater and cause serious health effects, they failed to take the steps necessary to protect the public. More than 700 military bases are suspected or confirmed to have had their water contaminated due to the use of firefighting foams.
- What Diseases Have Been Linked to PFAS Chemicals?
- Thyroid disease and several types of cancer, including liver, pancreatic, testicular, prostate, breast, bladder, thyroid and kidney cancer, have all been linked to PFAS exposure.
- What You Can Do
- If you suspect you or a loved one developed cancer or thyroid disease as a result of drinking or otherwise being exposed to contaminated water, fill out the form on this page. Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are offering free consultations to those who lived on military bases to help these individuals determine whether they can take legal action.
- How Could a Lawsuit Help?
- A lawsuit could provide money for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of life’s enjoyment, physical pain and suffering, mental anguish and more.
If you lived on a military base and developed cancer or thyroid disease, it’s possible that your illness may have been caused by toxic chemicals in your drinking water.
Residents and servicemembers are now taking action for the harm they suffered, so read on for more about the link between military bases and water contamination, as well as what’s involved in filing a lawsuit.
- Military Bases & Water Contamination: What’s the Link?
- Toxic “Forever Chemicals”: What Are PFAS?
- Cancers, Thyroid Problems Caused by PFOS and PFOA
- List of Military Bases with Contaminated Water
- PFAS Water Contamination Map
- What Could I Get from a Lawsuit?
- Who Would I Be Suing in a PFAS Lawsuit?
- What’s Involved in Filing a Lawsuit?
- Is this a Class Action Lawsuit?
- How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?
- What You Can Do
- Get in Touch
Military Bases & Water Contamination: What’s the Link?
For decades, military bases used a type of firefighting foam, known as aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), to put out fires in training exercises. A specialized substance designed to extinguish fires caused by petroleum and other flammable liquids, AFFF is known to contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of toxic chemicals.
Reports suggest that when the foam was washed away following training simulations, it seeped into the ground and nearby streams, contaminating the tap water base residents and locals used for drinking, bathing, cleaning and more.
Toxic “Forever Chemicals”: What Are PFAS?
PFAS, which is an umbrella term for a group of manmade chemicals that includes perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), are often referred to as “forever chemicals.” This is because PFAS hardly ever break down in the environment and can accumulate, remain and persist in the body – particularly the bloodstream, liver and kidneys – for decades. This means those with continued exposure to the chemicals are particularly at risk for adverse health effects.
PFAS can be readily absorbed through ingestion, (e.g., by drinking contaminated groundwater or eating fish exposed to the chemicals) and inhalation – and can even enter the body through the skin. Further, it has been established that PFAS can pass through breast milk and cross the placenta from mother to fetus during pregnancy.
PFAS gained particular attention in the early 2000s when DuPont came under public scrutiny for using PFOA in its Teflon pans and contaminating the drinking water of 70,000 West Virginia residents.
Cancers, Thyroid Problems Linked to PFOS and PFOA
Even at low levels, PFAS can cause a number of adverse health effects and have been linked to low birth weights, cancer, immune system problems, thyroid hormone disruption and increased cholesterol.
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are now investigating potential lawsuits on behalf of individuals who lived on military bases and were diagnosed with any of the following:
- Kidney cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Liver cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Breast cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Thyroid disease (hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism)
List of Military Bases with Contaminated Water
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are particularly interested in speaking with people who lived on the following bases, which are believed to have had their water contaminated with PFAS chemicals:
- Alameda Naval base, California
- Chanute Air Force base, Illinois
- China Lake Naval base, California
- Dallas Naval base, Texas
- Dover Air Force base, Delaware
- Eielson Air Force base, Alaska
- Ellsworth Air Force base, South Dakota
- England Air Force base, Louisiana
- Jacksonville Naval base, Florida
- Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia
- Joint Base San Antonio, Lackland, Randolph, Fort Sam Houston and Camp Bullis, Texas
- Moody Air Force base, Georgia
- NAS Oceana Naval base, Virginia
- Patrick Air Force base, Florida
- Pease Air Force base, New Hampshire
- Peterson Air Force base, Colorado
- Plattsburgh Air Force Base, New York
- Port Hueneme Naval base, California
- Richards-Gebaur Air Force base, Missouri
- Seymour Johnson Air Force base, North Carolina
- Wright-Patterson Air Force base, Ohio
- Wurtsmith Air Force base (Oscoda), Michigan
PFAS Water Contamination Map
A map of the base locations listed above can be viewed below. Click on a marker for base information.
If your base is not on the map or list above, this does not mean you were not exposed to PFAS chemicals from firefighting foam. These are simply the specific bases attorneys working with ClassAction.org are looking into.
More than 700 military sites are suspected or known to have been contaminated with PFAS; the Environmental Working Group keeps an updated map of these sites here.
What Could I Get from a Lawsuit?
In a successful case, you may be able to receive compensation for the following:
- Past and future medical expenses, including prescription costs, surgery, medical treatments and doctors’ visits
- Lost wages and loss of earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Disability and impairment
- Loss of life’s enjoyment
- Loss of marital benefits (care, comfort, sex, etc.)
- Funeral expenses
Who Would I Be Suing in a PFAS Lawsuit?
In most cases, your lawsuit would be filed against the company that manufactured the firefighting foam believed to be the source of your PFAS exposure; you would not be suing the U.S. military.
Companies that manufactured AFFF with toxic chemicals include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Tyco Fire Products
- The 3M Company
- Chemguard, Inc.
- The Chemours Company
- National Foam Inc.
What’s Involved in Filing a Lawsuit?
Before filing a lawsuit, your attorney will ask you questions about your work history, places you’ve lived and how your health has changed since being exposed to contaminated groundwater. He or she will also gather medical documents related to the condition you are alleging stemmed from your PFAS exposure.
Once your attorney has enough information to move forward with a case, he or she will draft a document known as a “complaint” that outlines the company or companies you are suing, how you were exposed to PFAS, the medical condition that developed as a result of the exposure and the monetary damages you are seeking. This document will also lay out why the manufacturers of toxic firefighting foam are responsible for the harm you suffered.
For instance, your attorney may allege that the companies:
- Failed to adequately warn the public of the certain health risks associated with AFFF
- Sold an unreasonably dangerous product when safer alternatives existed
- Failed to provide reasonable instructions on the safe use, storage and disposal of AFFF
- Repeatedly represented that the levels of PFAS being found in U.S. residents’ bodies presented no risk of harm or toxicity and were not medically significant
- Had the resources and ability to fund and/or sponsor studies to confirm their representations that PFAS in the body present no health risk, yet failed to carry out such research
- Knew the compounds in their AFFF products were carcinogenic and could enter the water supply, yet withheld this information from the public and government entities
- Attacked, challenged and tried to discredit studies that alleged, suggested or even implied that adverse health effects were linked to their firefighting foams
- Did not recall their products or instruct the public they should not be used upon phasing out production of the toxic firefighting foams and changing their formulas
Once your attorney files the complaint with the court, your lawsuit officially begins. From there, your attorney will engage with those representing the defendants – that is, the companies being sued – and the court in an attempt to resolve your case.
During this process, the attorneys may:
- Exchange documents
- Take depositions
- File motions, briefs and other paperwork with the court
- Consult with experts
- Issue subpoenas
- Attend hearings
If the case does not get dismissed and the defendants are not willing to settle the matter, the case will proceed to jury trial.
Is this a Class Action Lawsuit?
No. Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are not handling these cases on a class action basis. This is because individuals who have fallen ill as a result of PFAS exposure have suffered significant harm that warrants the cost and time associated with filing an individual lawsuit. This means if you want to pursue legal action over your injury, you will need to file your own lawsuit with your own attorney.
You can learn more about the difference between class action and individual lawsuits here.
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are handling these cases on a contingency-fee basis. This means you only pay if they win your case. Their payment will come as a percentage of your settlement or jury award.
What You Can Do
Want to find out if you can file a lawsuit?
Just fill out the form on this page to get started.
After you get in touch, one of the attorneys we work with may reach out to you directly. He or she will ask you a few questions – and answer any of yours – and help determine whether a lawsuit is a viable option for you.
It costs nothing to speak to one of the attorneys we work with, and you’re never obligated to take legal action just because you talked to someone about your rights.
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