NH Senators Seek Action On Pease Water Contamination
July 13, 2018 | Environmental Litigation
With a new boss at the Environmental Protection Agency, New Hampshire Senators Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen hope that the agency will “understand and address the PFAS contamination problem facing the nation.”
These lawmakers are especially concerned with the perfluorooctanesulfonic acid contamination around the Pease International Tradeport, which was once Pease Air Force Base. For years, military officials allowed first responders on the base to use firefighting foam that was laced with high amounts of this chemical, along with its cousin PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid). These chemicals leaked into the groundwater, contaminating at least one well. In response to problems like these, the EPA set a 70 parts-per-trillion exposure threshold. However, New Hampshire lawmakers cited evidence that PFOA is hazardous to humans at much lower levels than that. Moreover, their letter accused the prior regime of making decisions which are “a result of industry pressure or political influence.” In conjunction with the letter, Sen. Shaheen introduced the Safe Drinking Water Assistance Act as well as an amendment to a defense authorization bill which commissions a large PFOA study.
These lawmakers sent their letter to Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. Mr. Wheeler just replaced former Administrator Scott Pruitt, who resigned under a cloud.
Many scientists believe that there is no safe exposure level when it comes to PFOA. Primarily, that’s because the body cannot metabolize PFOA. That’s not true with regard to other harmful chemicals, such as trichloroethene. The liver can absorb small amounts of TCE and convert it into relatively harmless materials. But just like PFOA stays in the ground almost permanently, it also stays in the body almost permanently.
The body reacts harshly to foreign substances like PFOA. It has been linked to:
- Liver damage,
- Thyroid disease,
- PIH (pregnancy-induced hypertension).
- Kidney cancer,
- Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), and
- Testicular cancer.
All these conditions usually trigger high medical bills that may last a lifetime. Additionally, many PFOA exposure victims are unable to work regularly and so lose significant amounts of wages. Some other damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment in life, and emotional distress, are almost literally priceless. Monetary compensation is available for all these losses, as money damages is the only remedy that a New York judge has the power to grant.
Moreover, many juries award substantial punitive damages in these cases. This additional money is available if there is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant acted recklessly or expressed a conscious disregard for the safety of other people. A punitive damages cap may apply in some cases.
Your Claim for Damages
All successful claims are built on solid evidence and compelling legal arguments. At Napoli Law, we excel in both these areas.
There is considerable evidence that PFOA is dangerous, as outlined above. However, the link is not a “slam dunk.” So, we work diligently to collect evidence in these cases. That usually means a combination of the victim/plaintiff’s medical treatment history, expert witnesses who share their scholarly opinions on the subject, and statistical profiles (e.g. a spike of certain serious illnesses in a certain area). That combination of evidence, and other evidence like it, is usually sufficient to build a very strong case.
The evidence itself is like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Our attorneys put these pieces together in a way that sways the jury to the victim/plaintiff’s side.
PFOA water contamination at former military basis is one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC. We handle these and other injury cases on a nationwide basis.
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