Exposure to PFOA, associated with a high risk of kidney and testicular cancer

Michael Bartlett

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on July 18th, 2023

As a perfluorinated chemical, PFOA is highly toxic and possibly carcinogenic. Exposure has a strong association with kidney and testicular cancer. The chemical is one of the numerous harmful agents lurking in the environment of military bases nationwide in tremendous concentrations.

Perfluorooctanoic acid, known as PFOA for short, is a persistent and emerging contaminant that is currently polluting nearly all military bases across the country. PFOA is a man-made chemical, which means it does not occur naturally in the environment. People can find it in products that resist sticking, heat, water, stains, and grease.

Still, the chemical is also present in AFFF, the fire suppressant responsible for the contamination of military bases nationwide. The EPA issued a health advisory for PFOA after numerous studies found it could harm human health. The health effects, studied in lab animals and by gathering data from large groups of individuals, showed that exposure to a high PFOA level may cause the following:

At the majority of military bases, the main route of exposure to PFOA was drinking contaminated water. Nevertheless, military firefighters using AFFF were also exposed by inhaling toxic particles after extinguishing fires, which is why they have an even higher risk of coming to struggle with these serious diseases.

Exposure to PFOA increases the risk of kidney cancer by up to 50%

Studies among people exposed to PFOA suggest a strong association with kidney cancer, specifically renal cell carcinoma, which is the most common form of kidney cancer, accounting for over 85% of cases. The researchers in a study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute observed a positive association between renal cell carcinoma risk for PFOA and a greater than twofold increased risk among those in the highest quartile versus the lowest. Furthermore, according to the National Cancer Institute, a higher kidney cancer incidence and mortality have been observed among individuals with high PFOA exposure from employment in a chemical plant manufacturing PFAS or residence in the surrounding community with contaminated drinking water.

If you lived at a military base contaminated with PFOA and suspect you might have kidney cancer, these are some of the symptoms you should be on the lookout for:

  • a lump or mass on the side or lower back
  • blood in the urine
  • unexplained fever for a few weeks
  • persistent pain in the side, abdomen, or lower back
  • swelling of ankles and legs
  • feeling tired or in poor health

PFOA has been associated with kidney cancer in human studies and is most likely a renal carcinogen. However, before giving way to kidney cancer, PFOA exposure might cause kidney disease, which increases the risk of developing kidney cancer by up to 80% in some people. This is because individuals with kidney disease have to undergo dialysis on a regular basis. Moreover, if factors such as old age, smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure exist, the risk of kidney cancer is even greater.

Veterans exposed to PFOA are twice as likely to develop testicular cancer

Studies in lab animals found that PFOA exposure increases the risk of certain tumors of the testicles. While not always the case, well-conducted studies in animals usually do a good job of predicting which exposures might cause cancer in people, too. Furthermore, medical studies evaluated cancer rates in people living near or working in PFOA-related chemical plants. Some of these studies suggest a high risk of testicular cancer with increased PFOA exposure. A study from the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association found that the average relative increase in cancer risk per 10 ng/mL increase in serum PFOA is 3% for testicular cancer.

If you worry that you might have testicular cancer due to PFOA exposure at military bases, here are the symptoms you should seek medical attention for:

  • a feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • pain or ache in the lower abdomen
  • a feeling of unevenness
  • enlargement or tenderness of the breast tissue
  • swelling or discomfort in the scrotum
  • a lump in either testicle, usually painless

A study from Environmental Health Perspectives also found a connection between high-level exposure to PFOA and testicular cancer. In their study, the researchers aimed to identify a probable link between PFOA exposure from drinking water and the incidence of testicular cancer. The study confirms the association between PFOA exposure and testicular cancer found in previous animal and occupational mortality studies.

File your military base toxic exposure claim with the assistance of our diligent attorneys

With over 30 years of experience in pursuing compensation for toxic exposure victims, our attorneys have the necessary knowledge, skills, and resources to help you find out whether you are eligible to file a military base toxic exposure claim. The legal process is simple and will mostly take place over the phone. Veterans who intend to file a claim will only have to send us their military records, which they must retrieve, and their medical records.

Family members who are seeking legal recourse will be required to submit evidence of their stay at the military base along with their medical records. After a comprehensive evaluation of your case, we will let you know if you are entitled to financial compensation. Eligible veterans and family members will have their claims prioritized, as we understand how difficult affording treatment can be. Our law firm works on a contingency fee basis.