In 1941, the U.S. Department of War acquired 6,700 acres of the site near Myrtle Beach, including the airport. During World War II, the official establishment of the military base took place in 1942 and it was named Myrtle Beach General Bombing and Gunnery Range. The military base became Myrtle Beach Army Air Field in 1943.
When World War II ended, the military base was used for recruiting and support activities. In 1947, the site was deactivated, returned to the city, and became Myrtle Beach Municipal Airport. In 1954, the area was named Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, and the U.S. Air Force took it over.
Numerous old buildings on the site were torn down, and the military base was modernized. In 2010, the U.S. Air Force transferred Myrtle Beach Air Force Base to the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base Redevelopment Authority.
Closing Myrtle Beach Air Force Base was estimated to bring about the loss of over 5,000 jobs, the selling of 1,500 homes, 15% fewer students attended the school areas, the unemployment rate reached 20%, and $91 million losses in taxes and other revenues were reported.
Nevertheless, approximately 20 years after the military base was shut down, the 3,937 acres that made up Myrtle Beach Air Force Base came to include over 1,200 homes, several parks, and sports facilities, one of the American Red Cross headquarters, a VA clinic, new terminals at Myrtle Beach International Airport and The Market Common, a retail complex.
The issue of PFAS contamination at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base
Since 1970, aqueous film-forming foam, also known as AFFF, has been used by military trainees and firefighters to extinguish jet fuel and petroleum fires. It is essential to know that this fire suppressant contains large amounts of PFAS, a group of highly dangerous chemicals known as forever contaminants, as they are challenging to remove from the environment.
Unfortunately, Myrtle Beach Air Force Base is no exception since the U.S. Air Force members used AFFF on this site as well, causing heavy contamination that endangered the health of everyone who was stationed there before the military base was closed.
In 2019, a study found tremendous concentrations of PFAS on the site and three other South Carolina military bases, namely Shaw Air Force Base, Joint Base Charleston, and the North Auxiliary Airfield. The levels of PFAS found on Myrtle Beach Air Force Base greatly exceeded the permissible limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Alarmingly, South Carolina is far from being the only state with heavily polluted military bases, as military members have abundantly used AFFF throughout the country. Consequently, there are now over 700 military sites where PFAS are lurking, and the Environmental Protection Agency is currently striving to clean up these areas. “This is a nationwide public health issue that is not being treated like one. This is a problem that demands a concerted, urgent federal effort to stop the contamination where it is and to notify communities who live nearby,” said Genna Reed, a policy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists who followed an increasing number of bases that were found out to be contaminated with PFAS.
On the bright side, the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base was awarded by the Environmental Protection Agency the National Federal Facility Excellence in Site Reuse. The site was successfully turned into a flourishing commercial and industrial space. Nevertheless, people who were stationed at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base need to keep a close eye on their health, as they are at high risk of developing serious diseases due to exposure to PFAS.
What diseases can one develop as a result of toxic exposure at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base?
If you were exposed to PFAS, your likelihood of coming to struggle with serious diseases and health issues is significant. However, your health may be affected several years after you were exposed to PFAS, as some of the health problems caused by exposure to these toxic chemicals take more time to develop.
The following are only some of the diseases and health problems you or the family members you were stationed with at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base are at high risk of developing as a consequence of PFAS exposure, as well as the diagnoses that make you eligible for seeking compensation:
In the unfortunate case that you or one of your family members who was stationed at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base with you came to struggle with one of these health problems, get in touch with our law firm.
We specialize in toxic exposure cases and will be able to help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve for your suffering. In addition, we will file a claim on your behalf and a VA claim if you are a veteran, which will result in you benefiting from the largest sum of money available for your diagnosis.