By Treven Pyles
Posted on April 11th, 2021
Occurring when a person is frequently exposed to a toxic substance, neurotoxicity affects the normal activity of the nervous system. People who were stationed at military bases on which PFAS were present are at high risk of coming to struggle with neurotoxicity. However, this diagnosis is very challenging to assign.
Neurotoxicity causes great damage to the brain or to the peripheral nervous system, as the toxic agent the person was exposed to eventually alters the activity of the nervous system by disrupting or killing the nerves. Because nerves are essential for transmitting and processing information in the brain, as well as in other areas of the nervous system, individuals with neurotoxicity will experience significant distress in their everyday life. Some of the most common substances that can be neurotoxic to humans are radiation, heavy metals such as mercury and lead, pesticides, industrial and cleaning solvents, certain food additives, and formaldehyde.
However, PFAS, a group of toxic fluorinated chemicals, are also neurotoxic to humans, which is why numerous people who were stationed at military bases contaminated with these substances come to struggle with neurotoxicity. At the moment, PFAS are deemed potentially neurotoxic by health agencies throughout the United States. The main source of PFAS on military bases is the use of aqueous film-forming foam, commonly known as AFFF, by firefighters and trainees. While very effective in extinguishing jet fuel and petroleum fires, this fire suppressant inevitably releases PFAS in the environment, where they persist, since they are forever chemicals.
Defined as the poisoning of the brain and the nervous system, neurotoxicity is a known effect of exposure to a wide range of toxic chemicals. However, doctors often fail to recognize it, which makes assigning a correct diagnosis very difficult for the injured person. Usually, people with neurotoxicity experience a confusing array of symptoms and have no medical diagnosis assigned. Furthermore, their symptoms may seem vague and unconnected. Nevertheless, once the dots are connected and the person receives a diagnosis of neurotoxicity, they will be able to receive the treatment they need. Anyone who suffered a serious chemical injury is very likely to have sustained considerable damage to their brain and nervous system.
The chemicals that cause neurotoxicity are known as neurotoxins. Depending on the profile of the neurotoxin, it will cause damage to certain portions or specific cellular elements of the nervous system. The response of the body to neurotoxins highly depends on factors such as the neurotransmitter affected, the cellular membrane integrity, and the presence of detoxifying mechanisms. Some neurotoxins act directly on neural cells, whereas others interfere with metabolic processes on which the nervous system is particularly dependent. Others disrupt neural function or induce maldevelopment or damage to the nervous system. Disturbances may appear and disappear rapidly, evolve slowly, and regress over the years or cause permanent damage.
Most of the symptoms of neurotoxicity can be documented, but not in the way most people may think. The ability of a person to think, perceive, control emotions, plan, and manage their life can diminish significantly without anything being visible to a radiologist or neurologist on MRI or CT scans. For this reason, the most reliable way to assess brain function in people with neurotoxicity is through a neuropsychological evaluation. Imaging techniques provide little help in assessing neurotoxicity. Nonetheless, they may be useful for showing abnormalities caused by neurotoxicity and for forensic purposes, but they are not helpful for routine screening. Some of the most common symptoms of neurotoxicity include the following:
Furthermore, people with neurotoxicity may experience multi-organ system malfunction, lower or upper respiratory problems, such as chronic sinus problems, multiple chemical sensitivity, liver or kidney problems, and fibromyalgia or other pain disorders. If you were stationed at one or multiple military bases contaminated with PFAS and experience some of the above symptoms, please seek medical attention as soon as possible, as you may have developed neurotoxicity as a result of toxic exposure. If you suspect you have this diagnosis but are not assigned neurotoxicity upon your first medical appointment, you should look for a second and even a third opinion from other specialists, as pinpointing the exact cause of your symptoms is often challenging for healthcare professionals if your suffering is the result of toxic exposure.
If you suspect you developed neurotoxicity as a consequence of exposure to toxic agents in the military, there are several ways in which you can gather pertinent evidence of your diagnosis. These are the steps you should follow if you believe you struggle with neurotoxicity:
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are more than 700 military sites where PFAS are currently lurking. Nonetheless, not all of these military sites are military bases where people are stationed. The following are the most heavily contaminated military bases in the country and if you were stationed at one of them, we strongly advise you to keep a close eye on your health:
It is worthy of note that there are numerous other military bases where PFAS are present at the moment. Therefore, regardless of the military base you were stationed at, if you know AFFF had been used there and experience symptoms that point to neurotoxicity, we strongly encourage you to have your health assessed by multiple medical professionals.
With over 25 years of experience in pursuing compensation on behalf of victims of toxic exposure, our law firm specializes in this area of practice and is ready to go to great lengths to help you recover the compensation you are entitled to from the liable companies if you were injured by toxic agents in the military. Although the legal process is quite complex and tedious, it will require minimal involvement on your part, as we are aware that victims of toxic exposure are often in great physical and emotional pain.
It is important to know that you cannot recover financial compensation for neurotoxicity, as this diagnosis does not have a definitive causal relation with exposure to PFAS. However, if you have any other diagnosis that makes you eligible for filing a toxic exposure claim, we will gladly help you. We will only need evidence of your stay at the contaminated military base and proof of diagnosis from you. If you decide to work with our skilful legal team, you will receive the maximum compensation available for your diagnosis.