Civilians Living Around Coast Guard Bases Are at Risk of Exposure to PFAS

Treven Pyles

By Treven Pyles

Posted on May 21st, 2024

24 Coast Guard stations were found to be contaminated with PFAS. Civilians residing within a one-mile radius of one of these contaminated Coast Guard bases and who have a strong link between their disease and exposure to PFAS may be eligible to file a claim to receive financial compensation.

The Environmental Protection Agency states that nearly all Americans have levels of PFAS in their blood. These levels are even more extreme when it comes to servicemen and women: military installations around the country are notorious for their PFAS levels, which come from a combination of improper waste management and the heavy use of AFFF.

AFFF, or aqueous film-forming foam, is a firefighting foam used to fight Class-B fires. In the Coast Guard, as well as the rest of the military, it is used to suppress fuel fires in both training and during emergencies. It is heavily present on board Coast Guard vessels and in USCG Air Stations. While AFFF is especially effective in putting out fires from highly flammable liquids, it contains a high level of PFAS in its formulation.

The PFAS can then leak into the environment, where it takes hundreds - if not thousands - of years to disintegrate. Because of this, PFAS are called "forever chemicals". These chemicals also build up in our bloodstream, causing diseases such as:

PFAS has also been linked to various reproductive, immune, and endocrine system issues, as well as low birth weights and developmental defects.

While veterans are most at risk for developing these illnesses, civilians in and around Coast Guard bases are also at risk. In 2022, the EWG analyzed military installations around the country. Their findings? All 24 Coast Guard Air Stations are suspected of contamination by these forever chemicals.

This level of contamination is especially concerning because the majority of the Coast Guard's bases are located around large bodies of water. When these chemicals seep into the water, they can contaminate the groundwater, drinking water, and food sources for miles around.

For example, the water around the Coast Guard Air Station Atlantic City (CGAS Atlantic City) showed PFOS levels of 87,000 ppt, or parts per trillion. PFOS and PFOA are two of the most well-known PFAS chemicals. In 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency updated its exposure guidelines to 4 ppt for both PFOS and PFOA. This means that the water around CGAS Atlantic City is contaminated over 21,000 times the guidelines set by the EPA.

In other parts of the country, many private drinking wells near Coast Guard bases have also tested positive for PFAS contamination. This means that PFAS exposure relating to the Coast Guard goes far beyond our servicemen and women and is now affecting civilians as well.

Have you been exposed to PFAS because of living near a Coast Guard station?

Even though you're not a veteran, if you have been diagnosed with one of the illnesses listed above and you live within a one-mile radius of a Coast Guard station, contact our lawyers as soon as possible. We can help you file a claim and receive financial compensation.

Our professional and experienced lawyers have spent over 30 years fighting for the rights of toxic exposure victims, both veterans and civilians. We understand that dealing with a serious illness is extremely challenging, and we'll do everything that we can to make this process simple for you. All we require is proof of your address (to show your proximity to a Coast Guard station) and your medical records.

This way, we can determine whether or not you're eligible to file a case. Once we determine your eligibility, we will handle the legal process on your behalf so that you can receive the compensation you rightfully deserve.