Attorneys in Widefield water lawsuit want state to pay for blood tests — The Colorado Springs Gazette

Widefield aquifer via the Colorado Water Institute.
Widefield aquifer via the Colorado Water Institute.

From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Jakob Rodgers):

Several residents in the Security, Widefield and Fountain communities last month sued the manufacturers of a toxic chemical fouling their drinking water – each seeking expensive blood tests for themselves and their neighbors.

Now, the attorneys for those residents want the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to create and fund its own blood testing program, and quick.

“We think it’s a public health problem,” said Mike McDivitt, an attorney.

The call for a state-run blood testing program comes as the litigants gear up for a lengthy court battle against the companies that made and sold firefighting foam suspected of contaminating the drinking water of thousands of people across southern El Paso County.

Two federal lawsuits seeking class action status were filed in September over the tainted Widefield aquifer. Each lawsuit claimed manufacturers knew chemicals in the firefighting foam were toxic, but nevertheless neglected warning anyone while the foam was used at Peterson Air Force Base.

The lawsuits seek damages to pay for residents’ medical costs. But they also demand manufacturers fund blood tests for the Security, Widefield and Fountain communities. Those tests can cost up to $700, McDivitt said.

On Wednesday, McDivitt and several partnering attorneys called for the state and local health departments, Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office and Colorado lawmakers to spearhead expedited testing.

“Every one of these folks has to be blood tested,” McDivitt said…

Leon acknowledged the tests cannot indicate whether the chemicals caused specific health effects, or whether they will cause someone to get sick in the future. However, he said the tests still let people know if they have above-average levels in their bodies.