Water contamination continues to plague every corner of the United States. A notable water contamination is the Flint Water Crisis, which involves lead exposure.
Napoli Shkolnik client Art Schaap’s dairy farm located in southeastern New Mexico continues to be devastated by a different type of environmental pollution. More specifically, traces of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) have been found in his cow’s milk and water supply due to historic use of firefighting foam containing PFAS at nearby Cannon Air Force Base.
PFAS is alarmingly and silently killing humans due to its persistence in the environment, which has earned it the nickname the ‘forever chemical’. This family of chemicals are man-made and heat/water resistant. Several studies have shown evidence of PFAS being linked to kidney and liver cancer, thyroid problems, high cholesterol, birth defects, and pregnancy complications. Some ways that people are exposed to PFAS is through the food they eat. The contamination can start from the soil that food grows from, packaging that contains PFAS, and equipment used to process foods. People can also be exposed to PFAS through commercial products that might be stain and water repellent, which includes but is not limited to carpets, leather and apparel, textiles, paper, packaging materials, and other non-stick cookware. In some cases, simply consuming PFAS contaminated water can unknowingly cause unanticipated problems. Unfortunately, in this case, Mr. Schaap’s cows were affected from PFA- contaminated ground water.
In late 2018, Mr. Schaap found his cow farm’s milk to be contaminated with PFAS. Soon thereafter, the New Mexico Department of Agriculture suspended his milk license indefinitely, resulting in catastrophic losses to his dairy farm. The nearby Cannon Air Force Base uses firefighting foam during trainings which has subsequently contaminated the groundwater. Mr. Schaap relied on this groundwater to not only water his cows but to also irrigate the fields in which he grows crops to feed his cow herd. Mr. Schaap, as well as many countless Americans have been affected by PFAS whether they know it or not. Many scientists believe that PFAS chemicals are in the bloodstreams of nearly all Americans. Napoli Shkolnik’s legal team, including environmental litigators Tate Kunkle and Patrick Lanciotti, continue to fight for Mr. Schaap and his dairy, to hold those responsible and accountable for contaminating the nation’s water and food supply.
“The contamination at Highland dairy is an absolute travesty and serves as a frightening example of the omnipotent operations chemical companies have and continue to take. Our water supply is a precious resource that should never be taken for granted. Here we have an example of how quickly corporate malfeasance can devastate our essential resources, both nationally and locally,” says Lanciotti.
For more information, read the full article here: CNN News: A New Mexico farmer is dumping 12,000 gallons of milk a day. Here’s why
Both Tate Kunkle and Patrick Lanciotti are environmental litigators at Napoli Shkolnik. In addition to working on PFAS contamination cases, Mr. Lanciotti is part of the legal team representing those affected by the Flint Water Crisis in Michigan. Mr. Kunkle focuses on hazardous water and air contaminants exposure cases, including Wheatfield and Love Canal. Both attorneys are alumni of Pace University School of Law with certificates in Environmental Law.