Residents in Colorado Springs, Co., have come out with claims that the firefighting foams stored at Air Force bases since the 1970s have allegedly caused illness in the community.
According to CBS News, the foams were meant to “save lives” and not harm them, but they contain “highly fluorinated chemicals” known as PFCs. This has been suspected to be the proponent for multiple illnesses, including cancer, acquired by the residents who live nearby.
The EPA has found that the PFCs may have also leaked into the ground. CBS 4 initially reported about PFC in the Widefield aquifer back in 2016. Now, it is suspected to be the cause of several resident illnesses around Peterson Air Force Base. EPA testing also noted that as many as 6 million people who live near 190 Air Force bases may have been affected by PFCs that run in residential drinking water. PFCs are thought to cause cancer and underweight births.
Arlene Blum, researcher at the University of California Berkeley, said regulation of toxic chemicals has been one of the reasons this even reached Air Force bases.
“Our chemical regulation system makes us all guinea pigs… because chemicals are assumed safe until proven guilty and they go out into the world… and we are exposed to them with no health information,” Blum said.
As a preventive measure, the Air Force spent more than $4 million to purchase bottled water and filtration systems for residents.
Dan Cruz said he delivered mail to Peterson Air Force Base for 25 years, and he claims PFC could be the biggest reason why he did not only have one but three cancers—thyroid, prostate, and testicular. However, Cruz said his family does not have a history of any of these cancers so his case is very peculiar.
“I’m the only one that’s been diagnosed with cancer not once, not twice, but three times. People on my route… cancer has come upon them and sometimes stage 4,” Cruz said.
Another resident, Mica Ullum, believes PFCs could be the cause of four of her miscarriages. One of her children was also born premature, “weighing a mere one pound six ounces.” Ullum said if you get enough of the water, it is highly possible that your body will be affected.
“Because if you continue to pump poison into your body, something has to respond.”
At present, researchers at the Colorado School of Minds have gotten a grant to further investigate the PFCs in the state’s drinking water.
Meanwhile, a proposed class action lawsuit against foam manufacturer 3M is underway.