PFAS Contamination at Fort Bragg: A Deep Dive into the Crisis

For over half a century, the Department of Defense has utilized aqueous film forming foams (AFFF) containing harmful fluorinated chemicals, known as PFAS, across military bases for firefighting and training purposes. These substances, often referred to as "forever chemicals" due to their persistent nature, have raised significant environmental and health concerns.

The Spread of PFAS into Water Sources

PFAS Contamination at Fort Bragg

Drinking Water and Groundwater Contamination

A critical issue emerging from the use of AFFF is the infiltration of these toxic chemicals into both drinking water and groundwater. This problem is not confined to the military bases alone; it extends to neighboring areas and communities, posing a substantial risk to public health.

Health Impacts of PFAS Exposure

Exposure to PFAS is linked to a myriad of health problems, including but not limited to cancer, thyroid disease, and disorders affecting the reproductive and immune systems. The far-reaching impact of these chemicals on human health highlights the urgency of addressing this contamination.

Case Study: Fort Bragg PFAS Contamination

Location and Source of Contamination

The contamination site under scrutiny is Fort Bragg, located in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The suspected source of PFAS in this area is the firefighting foam used in various operations within the base.

  • Detailed Findings from Water Testing
  • PFAS Detected in Local Water Systems
  • Eureka Springs Water System
  • Fort Bragg - Old North Utilities Services
  • Pre Ranger Water System
  • Range 7 Water System

Test Results: PFAS Concentrations

The testing conducted between 2013 and 2019 revealed various PFAS compounds in the water systems, with the highest total PFAS level recorded at 84.1 parts per trillion (ppt) in 2019.

*Note: The maximum levels listed reflect the peak concentration of each PFAS detected during the testing period and do not indicate the current status of water treatment efforts to reduce these levels.

Source of Information

This data was obtained through a Freedom of Information Request to the U.S. Army, specifically targeting PFAS testing in drinking water on Army and Army National Guard Facilities or State Drinking Water Agencies. The detailed report is available here.

Environmental Contamination Findings

Groundwater Contamination

Further testing in 2020 revealed alarming levels of PFAS in the groundwater on-base, with PFOS reaching a staggering 180,000 ppt, PFOA at 17,000 ppt, and PFBS at 30,000 ppt. These numbers starkly illustrate the severity of the contamination issue at Fort Bragg.

What are PFAS on Military Bases?

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used in a variety of industrial and consumer products since the 1940s. On military bases, PFAS are most commonly found in aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), which is used for firefighting and fire training exercises. This foam is highly effective in extinguishing fuel fires, which are common in aviation and other military operations.

Key Characteristics of PFAS

  • Chemical Stability: PFAS are known for their strong carbon-fluorine bonds, making them highly resistant to degradation in the environment. This durability is why they are often referred to as "forever chemicals."
  • Water and Oil Repellent: Their ability to repel water and oil has led to their use in a wide range of products, including non-stick cookware, waterproof clothing, and food packaging.

PFAS on Military Bases: Usage and Concerns

  • Widespread Use in Firefighting Foams: Since the 1970s, PFAS-containing AFFF has been extensively used on military bases for firefighting and training. This has been the primary source of PFAS contamination in these areas.
  • Environmental and Health Risks: PFAS can contaminate soil, groundwater, and surface water. Once released into the environment, they can persist for a long time and can accumulate in the bodies of humans and animals.
  • Exposure to certain PFAS has been linked to a range of health issues, including cancer, hormone disruption, immune system problems, and developmental issues in children.
  • Contamination of Water Sources: The use of PFAS-containing foams on military bases has led to significant concerns about the contamination of drinking water sources both on and around these bases. This poses a direct risk to the health of military personnel, their families, and surrounding communities.

Response and Mitigation Efforts

In response to the growing concerns, there have been efforts to phase out the use of PFAS-containing AFFF and replace them with safer alternatives. Military bases are undertaking efforts to clean up PFAS-contaminated sites and monitor water sources to protect public health.

Regulatory Actions and Research

Governments and environmental agencies are increasing regulations and conducting research to better understand the impacts of PFAS and how to effectively remediate contaminated sites.

In summary, PFAS on military bases primarily originate from the use of firefighting foams and pose significant environmental and health risks. Addressing this issue involves phasing out PFAS-containing products, cleaning up contaminated sites, and ongoing monitoring and research.

Health Effects of PFAS Exposure for Fort Bragg Military Personnal

Exposure to PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) has become a significant health concern, especially for military personnel stationed at places like Fort Bragg. PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used in various industrial applications and consumer products, including in the aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) used for firefighting on military bases.

Key Health Effects of PFAS Exposure

  • Cancer: Studies have shown an association between PFAS exposure and an increased risk of certain types of cancer, including kidney and testicular cancer.
  • Thyroid Disease: PFAS can disrupt the endocrine system, with research indicating a potential link between PFAS exposure and thyroid disease, which can affect metabolism and overall health.
  • Immune System Effects: PFAS have been found to impact the immune system. This can lead to reduced vaccine efficacy and increased susceptibility to infections.
  • Reproductive and Developmental Issues: Exposure to PFAS is a concern for reproductive health. It can lead to fertility issues, pregnancy-induced hypertension/pre-eclampsia, and developmental delays in children.
  • Cholesterol Levels: There is evidence suggesting that PFAS exposure may lead to increased cholesterol levels, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
  • Liver Damage: PFAS can accumulate in the liver, leading to liver damage and affecting liver function.
  • Increased Risk of Hypertension: Particularly in pregnant women, PFAS exposure has been linked to an increased risk of developing high blood pressure.

Special Concerns for Military Personnel

  • Higher Exposure Risk: Due to the frequent use of PFAS-containing foams in military training and firefighting exercises, military personnel, including those at Fort Bragg, may face higher levels of exposure than the general population.
  • Long-Term Health Monitoring: Considering the long-term persistence of PFAS in the body and the environment, ongoing health monitoring for military personnel exposed to these chemicals is crucial.
  • Need for Comprehensive Health Studies: There is a growing need for more comprehensive studies to understand the full extent of health effects caused by PFAS exposure in military settings.

What Can Affected Personnel Do?

Medical Consultation

Regular health check-ups and discussions with healthcare providers about potential PFAS exposure are important.

Staying Informed

Keeping up-to-date with research and guidelines regarding PFAS can help in understanding and mitigating potential health risks.

Advocacy and Legal Action

Affected personnel may seek legal advice to understand their rights and possibly pursue litigation for health issues linked to PFAS exposure.

Community Support

Engaging with support groups and community networks can provide additional resources and shared experiences for those affected.

The health effects of PFAS exposure for military personnel, including those at Fort Bragg, are diverse and concerning. It's essential to prioritize health monitoring, stay informed about risks and research, and explore available resources and legal options for addressing potential health impacts.

Take Action Against PFAS Contamination with Class Action 101: Partner with a Skilled PFAS Lawyer Today

Take Action Against PFAS Contamination with Class Action 101: Partner with a Skilled PFAS Lawyer Today

Are you or your community affected by PFAS contamination? It’s time to stand up for your rights and seek justice. At Class Action 101, our experienced PFAS lawyers are dedicated to helping those impacted by PFAS contamination on military bases and in other areas. Our legal team understands the complexity of these cases and is prepared to guide you through every step of the legal process.

How Our PFAS Lawyers Can Assist You

  • Comprehensive Case Evaluation: We start by thoroughly assessing your situation to understand the extent of PFAS exposure and its impact on your health and environment.
  • Expert Legal Guidance: Our lawyers are well-versed in the laws and regulations surrounding PFAS contamination. We provide expert advice on the best course of action, whether it's joining an existing class action lawsuit or filing a new one.
  • Strong Advocacy: We passionately advocate on your behalf, ensuring your voice is heard. Our goal is to secure the compensation and remediation you deserve for the harm caused by PFAS contamination.
  • No Upfront Costs: We operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t pay any legal fees unless we win your case. This allows you to pursue justice without financial burden.
  • Staying Informed: Throughout the legal process, we keep you informed and involved, ensuring that you’re aware of every development in your case.

Ready to Take Action?

If you believe you've been affected by PFAS contamination, don't wait. Contact Class Action 101 today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our dedicated PFAS lawyers are here to help you navigate this challenging journey and fight for the justice and compensation you deserve. Let us be your advocates in this critical fight against PFAS contamination.

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