July 2017 Update: On Wednesday, May 31st, 2017, McDivitt Law Firm served notice to the United States Air Force of its intent to file a future lawsuit against the Air Force for water contamination in the Fountain, Security and Widefield areas. This notice is required to be provided to the Air Force before an actual lawsuit can be filed under the Federal Tort Claims Act. Based on internal investigations, McDivitt believes the Air Force should be held responsible for its potential contributions to the contamination of the drinking water in these affected areas.
In a report released by the Air Force on Tuesday, July 25, 2017, it was confirmed that there are multiple sites on Peterson Air Force Base which tested positive for high amounts of perfluorinated compound (PFCs) contamination. PFCs are chemicals that are found in numerous products, including firefighting foam. The Air Force has used this foam for several decades to put out fires in firefighting training drills. McDivitt Law Firm is investigating whether this foam could have seeped into the groundwater and eventually been transported in the local drinking water.
With all of the current information regarding the contaminated water in the Fountain, Security and Widefield area, McDivitt Law Firm does intend to file a suit against the United States Air Force.
Several water tests conducted in the communities of Fountain, Security, and Widefield have confirmed the presence of perflurooctanoic acid (PFOA) and/or perflurooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in the public drinking water supply. If you live or own property in this area you may have property damage or potential personal injury claims.
PFOA and PFOS are perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), which are substances often used in manufacturing and industrial settings for their useful properties, including fire resistance and oil, stain, grease and water repellency. PFCs are used to make things like carpets, clothing, fabrics for furniture, paper packaging for food and other materials that are resistant to water, grease or stains. According to the EPA, these chemicals are of particular concern as they have been shown to be toxic to laboratory animals and wildlife. An EPA advisory panel unanimously recommended that PFOA should be considered cancer causing, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified PFOA as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
In May of 2016, the EPA lowered its health advisory levels (the levels recommended) for certain PFCs, including PFOA, in drinking water. The EPA lowered the level to 70 parts per trillion. They did so over concerns regarding low birth weight, as well as, studies linking PFC exposure to kidney and testicular cancers.
Results from 95 samples taken in El Paso County have revealed elevated levels of PFOA and PFOS in the drinking water supply. In some instances the levels were 20 times higher than the levels recommended by EPA guidelines.
These chemicals have been linked to various diseases and cancers including:
- Testicular cancer;
- Kidney cancer;
- Thyroid disease;
- High cholesterol;
- Ulcerative colitis;
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension;
- Blood cancers; and
- Bladder cancer.
Unfortunately, at this time researchers don’t know what the long term medical outcome may be for those exposed to high rates of PFOA.
If you own a private well in the Security/Widefield/Fountain area and it has not been tested or exceeds the EPA’s health advisory, please consider other sources of water. For an interactive map to see if your area contains elevated levels of PFC please click here.
McDivitt Law Firm has been serving those injured due to others carelessness and negligence for decades. As a member of the Southern Colorado community, McDivitt Law Firm wants to make sure that those who may have been exposed to these toxic chemicals are aware of potential lawsuits against those responsible for the exposure.
If you believe you have been exposed to PFOA or PFOS and you reside or own property in the Fountain, Security, or Widefield areas, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call us at 719-999-9000 for a free and confidential consultation.