Lawsuit Filed over PFAS Contamination

Gregory Vellner

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DOYLESTOWN, Pa. – As Pennsylvania pursues action on PFAS chemical contamination of residential groundwater and a state park creek used by deer, Bucks County officials here have taken the contentious issue to another level.

In a lawsuit filed March 1, the suburban Philadelphia county and its district attorney’s office said the companies that produced the agent endangered residents by failing to warn them about toxic chemicals in the products.

The chemical – perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) -- was part of many products made in past decades like aqueous film firefighting foam (AFFF) used at military bases, airports, and fire training centers in Bucks County. The toxin often is called a “forever chemical” because it remains in the environment long after use.

“These defendants designed, manufactured, marketed and sold these products including firefighting foam knowing that their use would cause toxic chemicals to be released into the environment and they did nothing to notify the consumers,” said Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub.

The products were last used by local firefighters more than a decade ago, but recent testing at the Public Safety Training Center in Doylestown confirmed the ongoing presence of PFAS in water and soil samples, said Bucks Solicitor Joe Klan.

Said he: “As a result, we have seen the effects were extremely dangerous for the health and welfare of people in Bucks County.”

According to the lawsuit, the chemicals are readily absorbed into human and animal tissues, and their use constitutes a public nuisance because “Do Not Eat” signs have been posted regarding fish in the Neshaminy Creek.

The creek runs through Tyler State Park in Newtown, Bucks County and is a source of water and food for deer. The state Game Commission awaits word on tests performed on deer to detect the presence of PFAS.

In addition, the state Department of Environmental Protection is examining groundwater conditions in Warrington and Warminster townships.

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As a professional journalist for several years -- reporter, editor, feature writer, columnist -- I handled a range of subjects. Breaking news, investigative series, government action, feature events, and staff feature writer with national entertainment magazine interviewing stars including Tom Selleck, Mel Brooks and Danny DeVito. No matter the topic, certain ingredients are key: truth, facts, objectivity, balance.

Bucks County, PA
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