What Is the PFAS Lawsuit?

People who have PFAS-related health problems in Chicago, Illinois, might ask, “What is the PFAS lawsuit?” PFAS lawsuits claim that the per-and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) compounds in consumer products polluted the environment and exposed people to serious health risks. Earlier, these lawsuits sought cleanup and remediation of the contaminated area. Now, plaintiffs are seeking compensation for injuries and health complications stemming from PFAS exposure. Some PFAS-related health problems include cancer, weakened immunity, liver damage, and thyroid disease.

You may have grounds for joining a PFAS class-action lawsuit or filing a PFAS lawsuit if you have a health condition or injury associated with exposure. A knowledgeable class action lawyer can compile the medical documents and other evidence required to establish a direct link between your health problem and PFAS exposure.

The lawyer can fight for your best interests during the negotiation and throughout the legal process. He or she can also advise you on the best course of action if you miss a class action lawsuit.

PFAS Chemicals and Their Harmful Effects

PFAS are synthetic chemicals that have been used in consumer, industrial, and commercial products since the 1940s. Various studies have linked these chemicals to long-term, life-threatening health conditions, such as cancer, birth defects, thyroid disease, and liver damage.

Types of PFAS Chemicals

Thousands of PFAS chemicals are available in consumer products, industries, and the environment. Perfluorooctanoic sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are the most popular and mass-produced.

Common Uses of PFAS Chemicals

PFAS chemicals are an essential ingredient in the manufacture of fluoropolymer coatings and heat-, stain-, grease-, oil-, and water-resistant products. Fluoropolymer coatings are in various consumer products, including furniture, heat-resistant nonstick cookware, food packaging, and electrical wire insulators.

The application of PFAS is not limited to consumer products. Their resilient nature makes them valuable in aerospace, military, and firefighting. Researchers believe that the presence of these chemicals in firefighting foam has caused large-scale water supply contamination. In fact, a 2018 Department of Defense report shows water supply contamination in at least 1,621 military facilities had surpassed the EPA’s PFAS levels.

Health Concerns Associated With PFAS Exposure

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), higher concentrations of PFAS chemicals in the blood can result in serious health consequences. Health conditions and injuries associated with exposure to these chemicals include:

  • Birth defects and a significant drop in infant birth weights
  • Childhood vaccine resistance
  • Liver damage due to liver enzyme changes
  • Weakened immune system
  • High blood pressure in expectant women
  • High cancer risk, particularly testicular and kidney cancer

Research on the human and environmental effects of PFAS is still ongoing. As such, you should be cautious and try as much as possible to avoid using PFAS-based products. The reason is that some types of PFAS chemicals can remain and build up in the body for years.

A study published in the National Library of Medicine journal in 2015 found PFAS traces in the blood of about 97% of Americans. This implies that many Americans may already be at a higher risk of cancer by the time researchers fully understand the health effects of these chemicals.

Current Laws and Regulations Surrounding PFAS Chemicals in Illinois

Illinois has a policy that bans incineration of some PFAS chemicals, including the use of PFAS in firefighting foams. It also prohibits the sale of PFAS-based firefighting foam. This policy became a law on June 8, 2022. Health and environmental advocacy entities laud this initiative and expect the government to enforce more laws and regulations.

Violations and Liable Parties in the PFAS Lawsuit

PFAS manufacturers, sellers, and distributors are the liable parties in PFAS lawsuits. The lawsuits claim that exposure to these harmful chemicals stemmed from negligent actions and policies of these entities.

Some lawsuits, for instance, accuse 3M company of knowingly contaminating domestic wells since the 1960s. The lawsuits cite a 1960 3M internal memo that warned PFAS wastes dumped in landfills would ultimately seep into groundwater and contaminate residential water wells.

Lawsuits also allege that 3M participated in science manipulation to conceal the harmful effects of PFAS. They claim the company funded research programs and acquired the right to review and edit PFAS-related research papers in exchange.

Besides 3M, Solvay Solexis, Arkema, DuPont, and Asahi are the other liable parties in PFAS lawsuits. Several military facilities are also responsible for exposing workers and residents to PFAS chemicals.

Corporate Responsibility and Accountability in Preventing PFAS Pollution

Companies can be instrumental in preventing PFAS pollution by stopping manufacturing or using these toxic compounds in their products. They can also fund causes and government agencies committed to PFAS pollution cleanup.

Companies and government agencies that have knowingly or unknowingly exposed people to PFAS chemicals must be held liable for their actions. Enforcement of remediation laws and filing of lawsuits can help hold such companies and agencies accountable.

Several lawsuits have already started to hold companies liable for losses or damage stemming from PFAS chemicals they made or added to their products. Several state attorneys general have also sued manufacturers of PFAS chemicals. Illinois, for instance, filed a lawsuit against PFAS manufacturers on January 31, 2023. The lawsuit pursues compensation for alleged PFAS contamination of drinking water sources within the state.

Effects of PFAS Contamination on Communities and Individuals in Illinois

Recent scientific studies link PFAS exposure to medical conditions, such as cancer, kidney toxicity, liver damage, and pregnancy-induced hypertension. Medical bills stemming from treating and managing these medical conditions have left and continue to leave communities and individuals with huge financial burdens.

Individuals or entities that have suffered damage or losses due to exposure to PFAS chemicals may have grounds for a PFAS lawsuit. The lawsuit will help the affected parties get compensation to cover their health bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and cleanup costs.

When Should You Hire a Lawyer?

Hire a lawyer immediately after you have developed health conditions, such as cancer or liver damage, because of long-term PFAS exposure. Companies involved in PFAS chemicals manufacturing and distribution are big multinational corporations with seasoned lawyers and unlimited financial resources to fight lawsuits. As such, you must have a lawyer with a proven history of winning cases through settlement and trial to better your odds of recovering compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering, and other losses.

A class action lawyer can help you in the following ways:

Investigating and Reviewing Your Case

This step involves interviewing you to gather information about your PFAS exposure and medical conditions. It also involves obtaining medical records and other documents relevant to your PFAS exposure and medical problems.

Your lawyer will also identify the companies and locations that exposed you to PFAS chemicals. On top of that, the lawyer will develop a robust legal strategy to build a strong claim or start a class action lawsuit.

Filing the Correct Paperwork on Time

Filing the correct paperwork is instrumental in the success of any claim. A missing or incorrect document can jeopardize your claim. On top of confirming the accuracy of the paperwork, you must file it within your state’s statute of limitations.

The deadline for bringing a PFAS lawsuit in Illinois is two years from when you got diagnosed with a PFAS-related illness or injury. You will lose the right to pursue the claim if you miss the two-year deadline, unless an exception to the statutory limitations applies to your case.

Pushing for the Highest Possible Settlement

Defendants named in PFAS lawsuits are multinational companies. Such companies have the financial muscle to hire the best lawyers. You stand a higher chance of receiving compensation with a lawyer on your side than alone.

A skilled lawyer will present evidence and arguments to show that the defendant is liable for your illness. The lawyer will also help you establish a direct causal link between your PFAS exposure and your medical issues or injuries.

Compensation for PFAS Exposure Lawsuit

The injuries, damage, and losses arising from exposure to PFAS chemicals can be life-threatening. Filing a PFAS lawsuit can help victims hold negligent manufacturers and distributors liable and recover compensation for the full scope of their losses.

Monetary compensation cannot reverse the harmful health effects of PFAS chemical exposure. It can, however, cover the following expenses and losses:

  • Past, current, and future medical costs
  • Wage/income loss and lost earning potential
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Wrongful death damages

The exact settlement amount or court award will depend on many factors. These factors include the length of PFAS exposure, severity of any ensuing injuries or medical conditions, and number of companies liable. The experience and skills of your legal team will also influence the final compensation amount.

Chicago personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney Howard Ankin has a passion for justice and a relentless commitment to defending injured victims throughout the Chicagoland area. With decades of experience achieving justice on behalf of the people of Chicago, Howard has earned a reputation as a proven leader in and out of the courtroom. Respected by peers and clients alike, Howard’s multifaceted approach to the law and empathetic nature have secured him a spot as an influential figure in the Illinois legal system.

Years of Experience: More than 30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois
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