Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are man-made “forever chemicals” that don’t break down easily and can build up to dangerous levels over time. These highly toxic substances are part of a class of fluorinated chemicals that includes Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS).
PFAS chemicals have been manufactured since the 1950s and quickly gained in popularity because of their ability to repel heat, oil, and water. Many industries have utilized PFAS as part of their manufacturing process and companies such as DuPont and 3M have made PFAS, which is used as a repellent and a stabilizer (or emulsifier) in numerous household and commercial products.
PFAS Pose Great Risk to Human Health
Scientists have since discovered that these chemicals are hazardous contaminants and PFAS exposure can have devastating long-term health effects on people, animals, and the environment. According to The Environmental Working Group, PFAS affect approximately 15 million Americans.
Holding Companies Accountable in PFAS Cases
Berman & Simmons is currently representing clients Fred and Laura Stone and Stoneridge Farm in a PFAS lawsuit and leading the way to represent farmers, water districts, and anyone who has experienced property damage, business damage or personal injury by PFAS chemicals. When toxic polluters fail to take responsibility for their negligence and put others at risk, they can be held legally responsible to the people they harm.
We Are Prepared to Stand Up For You
The companies that manufactured and sold these dangerous chemicals were aware of the hazards but concealed that information from the public. Our team of experienced lawyers will hold companies responsible for PFAS contamination accountable and make sure you receive full compensation for the harm done to you.
Adverse Health Effects from PFAS Exposure and Contamination
PFAS can accumulate in your body and remain there for a long time, resulting in harmful consequences. Although more research is needed, some studies indicate that low level, long term exposure to PFAS could be linked to serious health issues, including:
- Autoimmune disorders
- Ulcerative colitis
- Thyroid disease
- Liver damage
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure during pregnancy
- Decreased fertility, and low birth weight in newborns
- Testicular, kidney, and prostate cancer
Common Types of PFAS Exposure
PFAS exposure occurs unknowingly when you use and consume products that contain these chemicals. Air, dust, soil, and groundwater can also become contaminated with PFAS.
These are some of the most common types of PFAS exposure:
- Food and beverages: packages containing PFAS, processing facilities that use them, or consumables grown in PFAS-contaminated soil or water; livestock exposed to contaminated food, soil, or water that produce eggs, milk (such as on egg or dairy farms), and associated byproducts used as ingredients; contaminated drinking water (industrial waste, chemicals, etc.)
- Household products: polishes, waxes, paints, cleaning solutions, and fire-fighting foams; non-stick cookware; cosmetics; stain- and water-repellent fabrics; electronics; pesticides
- The workplace: production facilities or industries that use or are exposed to PFAS, such as chrome plating, electronics manufacturing, and oil recovery
A Toxic Crisis: PFAS Contamination in Maine and New Hampshire
In Maine, a Governor’s Task Force was created to identify the extent of PFAS contamination in the state and to study the threats that PFAS contamination pose to public health and the environment. More troubling is the recent discovery that a 100-year-old dairy farm in Arundel and its cows’ milk has been poisoned with PFOS and PFOA. In fact, at one point, the cows’ milk contained the highest levels of PFAS recorded to date anywhere in the world.
As one local news headline indicated: “Maine dairy farm plagued by chemical contaminants may be tip of the toxic iceberg.”
It was determined that sludge purchased through a statewide program and spread across the farm’s fields to fertilize the soil contained high levels of the dangerous PFAS chemicals. The farm has been forced to close and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) now requires that sludge and bio-solids program licensees and composting facilities be tested for PFAS.
In New Hampshire, the Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) is investigating PFAS contamination sites affecting the state’s drinking water.
A team of attorneys at Berman & Simmons is working with leading experts in the field to conduct additional investigation and testing to better determine the scope of the problem in Maine and other parts of Northern New England.
PFAS Resources & Articles
Here are some resources to help learn more about PFAS contamination and the dangers it may pose:
- B&S Information Sheet: For Consumers & Farmers
- PFAS Infographic: What You Need to Know
- Maine Executive Order to Study the Threats of PFAS Contamination
- Fact Sheet: Highest Level of PFOS in Milk Reported at Maine Dairy Farm
- Map: PFAS Contamination in the U.S.”
- Maine DEP PFOA and PFOS Resource
- Fact Sheet: Sludge Spreading Threatens PFAS Pollution of Food & Drinking Water
Recent News Articles:
- October 30, 2019: PFAS chemicals showing up in public water supplies in Maine, according to CDC
- October 16, 2019: Maine wants ability to order cleanup of persistent chemicals
- October 15, 2019: America’s dairyland may have a PFAS Problem
- September 27, 2019: PFAS, the “forever” chemicals, enter the food Supply
- August 15, 2019: Arundel farmer says blood samples show high levels of “forever” chemicals
We are ready to help you today. Call us for your free consultation.
Toxic chemical lawsuits involve complex legal and medical issues, and they are expensive to pursue. At Berman & Simmons, our attorneys are extremely knowledgeable in both the legal and medical aspects of your case, and we have the resources to take on any opponent.
Maine has strict statutes of limitations for filing PFAS contamination complaints, so it’s critical to consult with us as soon as possible if you think you or a loved one may have been harmed by toxic contamination.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How much is my case worth?
There are many factors that need to be considered when determining the value of your case. Every case is unique and it takes a team effort — including your attorney, staff researchers, and outside experts — to determine the extent of your damages and how much your case is worth. There are two types of damages for which you could receive
compensation: Economic and non-economic.
If your case goes to trial and a jury agrees you deserve compensation, the jury members will decide how much the money you should receive for each category of damages.
How long will it take to resolve my case?
Every case is different, and there is no way to predict how long it will take for your case to be resolved. Some cases end in a matter of months, while the most complex and challenging cases, such as a medical malpractice case, can span several years. The vast majority of cases, however, are resolved before a trial and usually within a year.
The goal is to make sure you receive fair compensation for your injuries, no matter how long it takes whether that comes in the form of a pre-trial settlement, or with a jury verdict in your favor.
How will I know if I have a case?
To pursue a case, we will need to prove that you suffered a substantial personal injury and the injury was directly caused by the negligence of another party. A bad result alone is not enough to establish negligence. We let you know upfront if we are able to move forward with the legal process, or if we don’t think you have a case. Generally, we will know if you have a case after our first phone call or meeting.
If we believe you have a valid claim and decide to move forward with litigation, our attorneys and staff will then take it from there and do everything else that needs to be done, including obtaining and reviewing records relevant to your case, such as accident reports and other law enforcement documents, employer records, medical records, and other information.
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The lawyers at Berman & Simmons work on a contingency basis. That means you pay nothing up front and nothing unless we settle or win your case. We will consult with you, evaluate your situation, and do initial research free of charge. This is true even if we decide you don’t have a valid claim. We will also cover all necessary case expenses and you will not be obligated to reimburse us until and unless we recover monies on your behalf. if we do take your case and win a settlement or a jury verdict in your favor, a percentage of the compensation goes to pay for our costs and the work done by our legal team.
What do I prepare for the first call or meeting with you?
For your first meeting with us, simply tell us your story and explain in your own words what happened and how your life has been affected. If you’re meeting with us in person, you can bring notes about what happened to you, driver insurance information, names of any witnesses, photos of the accident damages or injuries, medical records, and other related paperwork if you have it and if it’s applicable, but that information isn’t necessary. Really all you need to do is be yourself, speak with us honestly, and be willing to tackle your problems with us.
Initial conversations between potential clients and our staff members are often done over the phone. Rest assured that everything we discuss is confidential and protected under law.