Luke Air Force Base Water Contamination and the Dangers of PFAS

Environmental Attorneys in California

Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS), members of the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) family of substances and which make up the PFAS HAL of 70 parts per trillion (ppt), have been found in the soil and groundwater stores of Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona. Residents that live near the base could have been exposed to PFAS also known as “forever chemicals” in drinking and bathing water. Luke Air Force Base notified Valley Utilities Water Company about the PFAS contamination, but the response time was allegedly slow. 

Water Contamination Causing Unnecessary Danger  

Luke Air Force Base (AFB) occupies 4,198 acres in Glendale, Arizona, which is thirteen miles west of downtown Phoenix. The base houses approximately 4,900 military personnel and dependents who live on the base. Other personnel who commute and non-military residents who live near the base put the area total to over 10,000 residents. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS), members of the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) family of substances), have been found in soil and groundwater stores of Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona, and allegedly may have leeched into the water supply provided by Valley Utilities Water Company. Other contaminants found include organic solvents and paint strippers, waste oil spills, petroleum spills, metal plating wastes, hydraulic fluids, and radiological waste. The alleged impacted area of PFAS contamination includes areas around Luke AFB that put thousands of service members and civilians at risk of exposure.  

Once the elevated levels of PFAS chemicals were detected, Luke AFB notified Valley Utilities Water Company, which services thousands of customers. However, the response time to warn customers against drinking tap water was allegedly slow and could have put thousands of customers and service members at risk of PFAS contamination. This is not the first-time elevated levels of PFAS chemicals were detected, however. Similar levels were detected back in 2016. The issue has been acknowledged and identified but remedies were not implemented.   

Dangers of PFAS Exposure 

PFAS are present in a wide array of products ranging from firefighting foam to food packaging. Therefore, it is common for most people to have a small amount already in their bodies. Despite this, extensive exposure to PFAS has shown negative health effects, especially to those who live close to where PFAS is manufactured or a byproduct of using certain products. A study conducted by Toxicologists Bevin E. Blake and Suzanne E. Fenton discovered the dangers of PFAS pollutants include: 

  • Kidney cancer 
  • Liver cancer 
  • Birth defects 
  • Thyroid disease 
  • Delayed fetal and child development 
  • Testicular cancer 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

How are people exposed to PFAS chemicals?  

  • PFAS chemicals can enter the environment through manufacturing processes, accidental releases, and the use and disposal of PFAS-containing products. People can be exposed to PFAS chemicals through multiple pathways, including contaminated drinking water, food, and air. Certain occupations, such as those involved in the production or use of PFAS-containing products, can also lead to occupational exposure.  

What are the health risks associated with PFAS chemical exposure  

  • Exposure to PFAS chemicals has been linked to a range of adverse health effects. Studies have shown that PFAS exposure may be associated with increased cholesterol levels, liver damage, immune system effects, developmental delays in infants and children, decreased fertility, and an increased risk of certain types of cancer. However, the exact health effects of PFAS exposure are still being studied, and more research is needed to fully understand their impact.  

What should I do if I was exposed to PFAS chemicals?  

  • If you believe you were exposed to PFAS chemicals, it is crucial to take prompt action. The first step is to remove yourself from the source of exposure, if possible. Then seek immediate medical advice from a healthcare professional who is knowledgeable about PFAS exposure. It is important to provide the healthcare professional with accurate information about the nature and duration of the exposure. Additionally, individuals should report the exposure incident to the appropriate regulatory or environmental agency to ensure proper investigation and mitigation. Following any recommended guidelines and instructions from healthcare professionals and authorities is crucial to minimize potential health risks associated with PFAS exposure.  

Why do PFAS have the name “The Forever Chemicals”?  

  • PFAS are commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” due to their resistance to degradation in the environment. These chemicals are characterized by strong carbon-fluorine bonds that make them highly stable and resistant to breaking down naturally over time. As a result, PFAS chemicals can persist in the environment for extended periods, leading to long-term contamination of water, soil, and air. This persistence has raised concerns about their potential to accumulate in the human body and the environment, posing health and ecological risks. 

How to Start Your Potential Case  

If you are a service member of Luke Air Force Base or a nearby resident and believe you have been exposed to the elevated levels of PFAS, contact our Environmental attorneys today. Here is what to expect from the process:  

  1. Fill out our contact form with your information    
  2. Set up your free consultation    
  3. Meet with our Environmental team    
  4. Discuss your potential case    
  5. Discuss your next steps   

Protecting Your Family’s Health  

McCune Law Group, McCune Wright Arevalo Vercoski Kusel Weck Brandt APC (MLG), is dedicated to protecting individuals from dangers outside of their control. Reckless use of PFAS chemicals has put thousands in danger. The Environmental Practice attorneys of MLG can help by holding the bad actors responsible for their actions.   

For more information about the Luke Air Force Base water contamination, contact our team of attorneys by calling (909) 345-8110 today! 

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