More than 100 new plaintiffs affected by water pollution at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility in Hawaii have been added to a lawsuit against the United States government.
The lawsuit was originally filed in the US District Court for the District of Hawaii earlier this year and included the names of 10 plaintiffs.
The latest update to the document, filed Thursday, includes the names of more than 100 new plaintiffs, including civilians, who claim they have suffered physically, emotionally and financially after a series of mistakes led to a fuel leak last November Furnishings.
“The once-healthy adults and children were treated — and hospitalized — for seizures, gastrointestinal disorders, neurological problems, balance disorders, brain injuries, hearing impairment, kidney complications, skin tumors, lung damage, liver damage, kidney lesions, burns. Rashes, lesions, thyroid abnormalities, migraines, baby loss and other diseases,” the complaint reads.
A US Navy investigation found about 20,000 gallons of fuel spilled into a nearby well that families relied on for water.
The Navy closed its Red Hill long after reports came in of people living on the base experiencing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches and skin problems. Tests revealed petroleum hydrocarbons and vapors in the water, the Navy said at the time.
Through a command investigation, the Navy found inadequate responses to the May 2021 spill and the November spill. It also found that with proper training and drills after the original leak, the risk could have been identified.
In March, the Department of Defense announced it would defuel and permanently close the facility by August 2027. IThe resulting environmental damage and damage to surrounding communities are part of what prompted the ministry to make this decision.
In response to a query about the updated lawsuit, the Defense Health Agency said in a statement that it is “committed to the health and safety of our patients.”
There are currently plans to open a dedicated clinic in December for patients with symptoms related to fuel pollution, Whitney Trimble, chief of public affairs for the Defense Health Agency’s Indo-Pacific region, told CNN in the statement on Friday.
“Because only very limited studies are available on the long-term health effects of exposure to petroleum products, DHAR-IP is working closely with experts from the Department of Defense, the Hawaii Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to closely monitor this long-term.” health effects of exposure to fuel-contaminated water so that we can better care for patients affected by Red Hill contamination,” said Trimble.
The updated complaint follows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Hawaii Department of Health, which released the results of an investigation into water pollution in the drinking water system at the US Navy’s Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Conducted in September, the survey of 986 participants found that approximately 80% of respondents reported health symptoms in the past 30 days and 65% expressed high or very high confidence that the symptoms were related to the water pollution incident.
According to the survey, the most commonly reported symptoms were headache, anxiety, dry or itchy skin, fatigue and trouble sleeping.
Respondents also expressed “overwhelming concern and frustration about communication, transparency and trust.”