The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for determining the acceptable level of certain contaminants in drinking water throughout the nation. Two of the most dangerous contaminants are perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which the EPA has determined are OK at a level of 70 ppt (parts per trillion) or less - a level that is not expected to lead to health consequences over the course of a lifetime. Some research, however, suggests that PFOA and PFOS can be dangerous at a level that is 70 times lower than the EPA’s recommendation.
In New Castle, DE, official have detected PFOS and PFOA in the water supply at levels that are well above the EPA’s recommendation. Here’s what you need to know:
Drinking Water in New Castle Contaminated with Dangerous Toxins
Drinking water in at least three wells in the city of New Castle, DE is contaminated with dangerous levels of PFOA and PFOS. The levels of each chemical detected range from .094 parts per billion to 2.3 parts per billion (PPB). To put that into perspective, 2.3 parts per billion is 2,300 parts per trillion, a level that is nearly 33 times higher than the EPA’s recommended limit. The three districts serve over 320,000 people, all of whom may be at serious risk of exposure and related health consequences.
The source of the contaminants are likely a nearby airbase - Dover Air Force Base - and New Castle County Airport. The firefighting foam at the air base is likely to blame. In fact, one area near the air force base reported PFOS levels of 270 parts per billion, or 270,000 parts per trillion.
The Risks of Exposure to PFOA and PFOS
The risks of exposure to PFOA and PFOS, especially over a prolonged period of time, are very real. PFOA and PFOS exposure are associated with developmental effects including low birth weight, skeletal variations, and accelerated puberty; cancers, including kidney and testicular cancer; thyroid complications; immune effects; and damage to the liver.
If you live in New Castle, it is important that you avoid drinking the water until it is cleaned and levels of PFOS and PFOA are safe. This is especially important for young children and pregnant women.
Your Rights if You Are Exposed and Impacted by PFOA and PFOS
When your drinking water is contaminated, you may feel very helpless. At the law offices of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, we want you to know that you are not alone - our experienced environmental toxin lawyers are here to represent you. If you are harmed as a result of contaminants in your water, you have the right to hold the responsible party liable for your losses. Companies have a duty to dispose of waste properly, and your city has a responsibility to provide you with safe, clean drinking water. When your rights are breached and your health is at risk, you have the right to take action.
To learn more about your options and what to do next, please contact our law firm by phone or online today. A consultation with our lawyers is free.