PFAS is an extremely dangerous chemical. We believe that its makers knew for years of its dangers yet continued to sell the product to a wide variety of industries including paper companies. Today the Environment Working Group estimates that over 100 Americans have PFAS in their drinking water.
Unlike many chemicals, PFAS stays in the environment for many years. That is why scientists have dubbed it a “forever chemical.” To be technically precise, PFAS is a family of similar chemical substances known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. There are over 4,700 varieties, some more dangerous than others. Unfortunately, two of the most common (PFOS and PFOA) are also the most dangerous.
In November 2020, a California woman, Velma Hernandez, filed a class action against Huhtamaki, maker of Chinet paper plates. Huhtamaki may not be a household name but the company is huge with manufacturing plants located all over the world. The United States has over a dozen facilities.
According to Hernandez, Huhtamaki advertises their disposable dinnerware (Chinet paper plates) as eco-friendly and compostable. She correctly points out that the plates contain dangerous PFAS chemicals that leach into the soil after they are disposed.
She wants the company to stop its deceptive trade practices and misleading advertising.
We certainly support her efforts but the real victims are those who have suffered kidney or other cancers associated with PFAS exposure or who have contaminated wells because of their proximity to a Huhtamaki plant or disposal site.
In March of this year we filed a groundbreaking class action lawsuit on behalf of Somerset County, Maine residents who have contaminated wells. We know of several people who have lost their kidneys or suffered thyroid cancer because of exposure to PFAS.
The suit initially named. The Somerset Mill in Skowhegan, Maine which is today operated by South African Pulp and Paper – SAPPI. Our investigation now reveals other area paper mills may be responsible for PFAS contamination including Huhtamaki’s Waterville, Maine plant.
We bring class action lawsuits on behalf of residents with contaminated wells, states or towns with contaminated water systems and individuals who may have suffered from health complications caused by PFAS exposure.
Common health problems linked to PFAS include:
- developmental effects to fetuses during pregnancy or to breastfed infants (e.g., low birth weight, accelerated puberty, skeletal variations),
- cancer (e.g., testicular, kidney),
- liver damage
- immune effects (e.g., antibody production and immunity),
- thyroid damage, and
- other health effects (e.g., cholesterol changes).
- suppressed immune system
- decreased vaccine response
- ulcerative colitis
- hormone imbalance
- other forms of cancer
Unfortunately, research into PFAS health effects is still in its infancy. We believe that is largely the fault of the companies that made these dangerous chemicals. We think they knew about the dangers but hid those facts from the consumers and regulators.
At this time we are accepting kidney and testicular cancer cases if there are detectable levels of PFAS in one’s blood or drinking water. Talk to your doctor if you need to be tested. We are also considering birth defect and thyroid cancer cases although every case needs to be reviewed individually.
Most of the patient health studies have focused on PFAS exposure from drinking water.
Are Chinet Paper Plates Safe to Use?
We have not seen any studies suggesting that coated paper plates and fast food packages aren’t although their subsequent disposal can cause problems depending on where they end up. We also question whether the coatings could contaminate food if heated in a microwave.
The Center for Environmental Health warns against products that use PFAS but we are not aware of a study that shows that these chemicals can leach into food. Once again, there isn’t much research out there so it may be better to be safe than sorry.
Were You Injured Because of PFAS Exposure?
If you or a loved one was exposed to PFAS contamination and were subsequently diagnosed with a serious disease or injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other losses. Homeowners and farmers with contaminated soil or wells may also be entitled to compensation. Even if you have yet to suffer health complications, you may be eligible for lifetime medical monitoring. To learn more, visit our PFAS contamination and injury page. Do you have a positive test for PFAS in your blood or have PFAS in your drinking water? Contact a PFAS contamination lawyer at Mahany Law online , by email or by phone at 202-800-9791.
There is never a charge for a consultation and all inquiries are kept confidential. We consider cases nationwide.