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
What is PFAS?
PFAS stands for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which are long lasting chemicals that have been produced since the 1950’s and favored for their ability to repel heat, oil, and water. These chemicals are used in numerous commercial and household products; however, they pose a great danger. PFAS chemicals don’t break down easily over time, and can build up to toxic levels in the human body.
How many people are affected by PFAS exposure?
Just in the U.S. alone, The Environmental Working Group says that PFAS contamination affects 15 million Americans.
What are the health effects of PFAS contamination?
PFAS contamination can result in many adverse health effects, including (but not limited to):
- The development of autoimmune disorders
- The development of thyroid disease
- An increase in cholesterol levels
- Decreased fertility and birth complications
- Ulcerative colitis
- Liver damage
- High blood pressure during pregnancy
- The development of testicular, kidney, and prostate cancer
What are the most common types of PFAS exposure?
The most common sources of PFAS contamination is food and beverages, household products, and the workplace. PFAS is sometimes found in food packaging, facilities that manufacture or process the food, and contaminated food ingredients (ex. Contaminated milk from a cow exposed to PFAS). For household products, PFAS is commonly found in polishes, paints, waxes, cosmetics, cookware, fabrics, electronics, and pesticides. PFAS can also be found in some workplaces, especially those that act as manufacturing facilities for these products.