Nigora Akhmedova, diagnosed with breast cancer 2018, has been drinking the local water in Anne Arundel County since 2005, which is contaminated with PFAS chemicals in firefighting foams that were used at nearby Fort Meade Army Base. The highest levels of Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) have been found around chemical plants and air bases.
PFAS Breast Cancer and PFAS Manufacturers
Exposure to PFAS is linked to cancer and PFAS exposure is also associated with health outcomes thought to increase the risk of breast cancer, reported the Environmental Working Group.
The EWG calls out companies like 3M and DuPont who make countless products containing PFAS chemicals but put pink ribbons on these products, known as pinkwashing, during breast cancer awareness month, which is October in the U.S. “These companies have known for decades that PFAS harms human health but hid that information from their employees and the general public,” writes EWG. “If companies like 3M and DuPont really care about reducing the risk of breast cancer, they should stop discharging them into the environment and support increased regulation of PFAS chemicals.”
For instance, the NRDC reported that DuPont dumped PFAS chemicals in North Carolina’s drinking water for more than four decades. The StarNews wrote in 2017 about a chemical found in the local drinking water and “Tom Kennedy had just finished four months of chemotherapy for his stage 2 breast cancer.” Kennedy said he is “pretty certain that the PFAS contamination is what led to my cancer.” And the watershed remains contaminated with PFAS chemicals.
Breast Cancer Lawsuit
But Nigora Akhmedova directly blames her breast cancer on exposure to PFAS chemicals. Her lawsuit states that “the defendants designed, developed, manufactured, marketed and/or sold the AFFF or fluorochemical products containing PFOA or PFOS to which Plaintiff was exposed and directly and proximately caused Plaintiff to develop breast cancer, and to suffer severe personal injuries, pain, suffering, and emotional distress.
Further, “The Defendants knew or should have known of the hazards of AFFF containing PFOA and PFOS and/or their precursor chemicals when the products were manufactured…. At no point did Plaintiff or users of Defendants’ AFFF products located in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, including the United States Army, receive any warning that Defendants’ AFFF products containing PFOA and/or PFOS and/or their precursor chemicals were toxic or carcinogenic.”
It goes on: “The willful, wanton, malicious, fraudulent and/or reckless conduct of Defendants, includes, but is not limited to:
- Issuing no warnings and failing to divulge material information concerning the release of fluorochemicals, including but not limited to PFOA and PFOS;
- Failing to take all reasonable measures to ensure fluorochemical products would be used effectively and properly disposed of;
- Failing to prevent the foreseeable impacts of fluorochemical exposure upon the Plaintiff.
- Withholding, misrepresenting, and/or concealing information regarding the releases of fluorochemical products and exposure from Plaintiff, other exposed individuals, and the public at large with the intention to mislead and/or defraud them into believing that their exposure to fluorochemical products was not harmful, and to mislead and/or defraud them into continuing to purchase and consume drinking water contaminated with fluorochemical products.”
The case is 2:21-cv-02681-RMG, Date Filed 08/20/21, before Judge Richard Gerge.
PFAS and Breast Cancer – Studies and Research
A study of Inuit women in Greenland found that women with more PFAS in their blood had an increased risk of developing breast cancer. Other studies have found links between PFAS chemicals and breast cancer, such the National Toxicology Program that showed health outcomes associated with PFAS are also tied to increased risk of breast cancer.
And PFAS exposure can alter girls’ development during puberty by changing the structure and growth of mammary glands. PFOA-- a type of PFAS that DuPont formerly used to make Teflon—has shown significant changes and abnormalities in the mammary glands of lactating mice chronically exposed to PFAS. Altered timing of mammary gland development can increase the risk of environmentally caused cancers and elevate the risk of breast cancer.
READ MORE PFAS HEALTH RISKS LEGAL NEWS
And if that isn’t enough, PFAS and breast cancer, studies have determined that exposure to certain PFAS can lead to greater growth and proliferation of breast cancer cells.