Weitz & Luxenberg and consumer advocate Erin Brockovich announced today an investigation into drinking water contamination in Pennsylvania. The announcement comes after new EPA guidelines showed several communities in the state to have elevated levels of the cancer-causing chemicals PFOA or PFOS.

”The people of Pennsylvania recently woke up to find out that they have been consuming chemical-tainted water without their knowledge,” said Robin Greenwald, head of the Environmental and Consumer Protection Unit at Weitz & Luxenberg. ”Like so many other communities across the country also facing a PFOA-contaminated drinking water crisis, this community has many questions about how long they have been drinking this dangerous water, what effect it is having on their well-being and who is at fault. This investigation will seek to answer those questions.”

PFOA and PFOS are synthetic substances often used as ingredients in waterproofing or stain-resistant agents, and can be found in products like no-stick cookware, dental floss and electrical insulation. They are also used for firefighting at airfields. Chronic PFOA exposure has been linked to a number of different cancers and other health issues, which is partly why the EPA last month revised its guidelines for the acceptable amount of PFOA and PFOS in a water supply from 400 parts per trillion to 70 ppt. 

Under these new guidelines, several Pennsylvania communities including Horsham, Warrington and Warminster — which are all located near current and former military bases in the region where firefighting foam containing the chemicals has been used — showed high levels of PFOA or PFOS in their drinking water supplies.

”Communities across our country are realizing that the source of life — water — could in fact be making them seriously ill,” said Brockovich. ”It is time to give this community a voice and make sure those responsible are held accountable for this issue.”

Weitz & Luxenberg has conducted similar investigations in New York, Vermont and New Hampshire, and recently filed a federal class action lawsuit against a plastics company for its role in PFOA water contamination in Hoosick Falls, NY.

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