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AFFF and Genetic Disorders | Investigating the Potential Impact on DNA

Genetic factors-genetic test

Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) has long been a valuable tool in firefighting and hazardous material containment. However, recent concerns have emerged regarding its impact on human health, specifically its link to genetic disorders.

AFFF is a type of firefighting foam that contains harmful chemicals and surfactants. It is popular because it can extinguish fires and create a barrier to stop them from reigniting.

AFFF exposure in firefighting foam litigation is a significant concern due to its potential impact on DNA. Genetic tests suggest a link between AFFF exposure can cause DNA damage through various mechanisms, such as changes in DNA methylation and genetic mutations, leading to the development of genetic disorders.

What Are the Potential Health Risks of AFFF Exposure?

Direct exposure or consumption of contaminated water and food can threaten human health. PFAS chemicals have been linked to increased risk of adverse health effects, such as:

  • Genetic Disorders
  • Liver Damage
  • Immune System Dysfunction
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Mental Health Disorders

What Is the Link Between Genetic Disorders and AFF Exposure?

Both genes and environmental factors influence genetic disorders. AFFF exposure is one of the prominent environmental factors that can play a role in the development of genetic disorders, especially in individuals with genetic vulnerabilities.

Exposure to PFAS chemicals in AFFF foam can impact gene expression and DNA methylation patterns. These alterations can change how genes function and contribute to the development of genetic disorders. Furthermore, AFFF exposure can cause specific genetic mutations or variants, amplifying the risk or severity of a disorder.

Studies have identified a relationship between AFFF exposure and an increased risk of genetic disorders, such as mental disorders, hormonal imbalances, and certain cancers. The presence of genetic mutations or polymorphisms can make individuals more susceptible to the harmful effects of AFFF exposure.

How Does the Development of Genetic Disorders Impact the Role of DNA?

The development of genetic disorders directly affects the role of DNA in our bodies. DNA carries our genetic instructions and is crucial in determining our traits and how our cells function. However, when genetic disorders occur, there are changes or abnormalities in the DNA sequence or structure. These changes can impact how genes are expressed or regulated, leading to malfunctioning proteins or disrupted cellular processes.

As a result, genetic disorders can cause a wide range of health issues, affecting physical development, cognitive abilities, and overall well-being. Understanding the inheritance pattern is crucial for diagnosis, genetic counseling, and assessing the likelihood of passing the disorder to future generations.

Which Genetic Disorders Can Potentially Be Caused by Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) Exposure?

Exposure to Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) has raised concerns regarding its potential link to the development of genetic disorders. While research on this connection is ongoing, several genetic disorders have been identified as potentially associated with AFFF exposure, such as:

Sperm DNA Methylation in Men

Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in various industrial products can potentially disrupt endocrine signaling and affect human reproductive health. A study examined the connection between PFAS exposure and sperm global methylation levels in non-occupationally PFAS-exposed fertile men.

PFAS was detected in 97% of the blood samples collected from 262 men. While no consistent associations were found between PFAS exposure and sperm DNA methylation, some populations had weak but statistically significant associations. Further clinical trials and genetic testing is needed to explore the impact of PFASs on sperm epigenetic processes.

Sperm Abnormalities and DNA Damage

A study examined the effects of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) on sperm in men exposed to these substances. The researchers found that 58% of the participants had PFC contamination in their bodies. The study revealed that PFCs were associated with significant changes in sperm parameters, including increased sperm abnormalities and DNA damage. These findings indicate that exposure to PFCs can harm sperm production and genetic integrity.

Disturbed Genetic Regulation in Women

According to a scientific study, women exposed to high levels of PFAS through drinking water show alterations in DNA methylation. This study discovered specific DNA methylation changes associated with cancer, endocrine disorders, and reproductive diseases. The findings suggest that PFAS exposure can impact genetic regulation in women through drinking PFAS-contaminated water.

Changes in DNA Methylation in Infants

Genetic research shows that during pregnancy, the levels of PFAS in women were lower than the average for females in the United States. Despite this, there are still significant connections between PFAS exposure and pregnancy. These results conclude that prenatal exposure to PFAS can significantly impact offspring’s development, metabolism, and immune function by causing changes in DNA methylation.

Similarly, another study examined how exposure to PFAS during pregnancy affects DNA methylation changes in cord blood, which is the blood left in the umbilical cord and placenta after birth. The results indicate that prenatal PFAS exposure can impact newborns’ DNA methylation.

What is the Defining Feature of Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF)?

aqueous film forming foams

Aqueous film-forming foam is water-based and frequently contains hydrocarbon-based surfactants, such as sodium alkyl sulfate, fluorosurfactants, fluorotelomers, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).

Furthermore, AFFF is composed of fluorinated foams. When mixed with water, it creates a solution. This solution forms a film that spreads over the surface of hydrocarbon fuels like oils, gasoline, and solvents. The AFFF film extinguishes the fire and creates a barrier between fuel and oxygen to prevent it from reigniting. This ability to form a film is what distinguishes AFFF from other foams.

What Are the Typical Uses and Applications of AFFF?

AFFF has been widely used for extinguishing Class B fires (combustible liquid fires) in the following departments:

  • Chemical plants
  • Flammable liquid storage and processing facilities
  • Merchant operations (oil tankers, offshore platforms)
  • Municipal services (fire departments, firefighting training centers)
  • Oil refineries, terminals, and bulk fuel storage farms
  • Aviation operations (aircraft rescue and firefighting, hangars)
  • Industries and military facilities

Despite its widespread use for various purposes, AFFF raises concerns because it can harm the environment and human health. The foam contains harmful chemicals that can reside in the ecosystem, causing long-term damage and health risks.

What Are the Impacts of AFFF Usage on the Environment?

AFFF contains harmful PFAS chemicals, leading to widespread water contamination that affects millions of people. These PFAS substances disrupt ecosystems, harming aquatic life and posing health risks to humans. Moreover, AFFF also contaminates soil and vegetation, impacting agriculture and biodiversity.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is spending $1 billion in grant funding available through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help communities clean up PFAS contamination.

What Are the Legal Implications and Regulatory Measures for AFFF Usage?

In recent years, growing concerns over the environmental and health impacts of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have prompted legislative action in the United States. Here are some of the legal implications and regulatory measures for AFFF usage:

Health Advisories for PFOA and PFOS by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2022

In June 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established interim Health Advisories concerning perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). These advisories provide important technical information for federal, state, and local officials. This information helps them make informed decisions on various matters, such as creating monitoring plans, investing in effective treatment solutions, and developing policies to protect the public from PFAS exposure.

National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) 2023

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took a significant step on March 14, 2023, by proposing National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) targeting perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), and four other PFAS compounds and their mixtures.

Through the NPDWR, the EPA aims to establish enforceable standards, including Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs), specifically designed for public water systems. These MCLs will set permissible concentration limits for PFOA, PFOS, and the other identified PFAS compounds, ensuring that the drinking water provided to the public meets strict safety requirements.

PFAS Action Act of 2021

The PFAS Action Act 2021 aims to hold the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accountable for regulating per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) under specific federal environmental laws. This legislation requires the EPA to issue guidance, implement necessary actions, and take significant measures concerning PFAS.

Under Section 5 of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the EPA must notify if the premanufacture or significant new use of any PFAS poses an “unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment. Furthermore, the EPA would be empowered to issue an order under TSCA prohibiting the manufacture, processing, and distribution in commerce of such PFAS substances.

Department of Defense (DoD)

In their quest for safer fire-extinguishing alternatives, the Department of Defense (DoD) has comprehensively assessed the relative risks and costs associated with implementing different strategies to replace Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF). Recognizing the urgency of the matter, the DoD has invested over $28 million since 2017 in developing and testing nearly 20 PFAS-free agents, with some already commercially available.

Department of Defense (DoD)

In their quest for safer fire-extinguishing alternatives, the Department of Defense (DoD) has comprehensively assessed the relative risks and costs associated with implementing different strategies to replace Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF). Recognizing the urgency of the matter, the DoD has invested over $28 million since 2017 in developing and testing nearly 20 PFAS-free agents, with some already commercially available.

How Can a Firefighting Foam Lawyer Help You?

Here’s how a firefighting foam lawyer can help you seek justice for your exposure to toxic PFAS chemicals and hold manufacturers or distributors accountable for your suffering.

Provides Legal Support

A firefighting foam lawyer provides essential support and guidance to victims of PFAS-related genetic disorders. He/she possesses specialized knowledge of the legal complexities surrounding AFFF cases and can navigate through the intricacies of the legal system on your behalf. Furthermore, a skilled AFFF lawyer understands the physical, emotional, and financial toll that genetic disorders can impose on you and your family. An AFFF lawyer is dedicated to fighting for your rights and pursuing compensation for your losses.

Claims Liability of At-Fault Party

AFFF lawsuits require identifying and holding responsible parties accountable for the harm caused by PFAS exposure. A firefighting foam lawyer possesses the expertise to investigate and determine the defendants. This can include manufacturers of AFFF, fire departments, government agencies, and other parties involved in the foam’s use, distribution, or disposal.

Builds a Strong Case

A firefighting foam lawyer employs various strategies to build a strong case on your behalf. He/she collaborates with experts, including scientists and medical professionals, to establish a causal link between AFFF exposure and genetic disorders.

In addition, an AFFF lawyer will collect important evidence like medical reports, science studies, and advice from experts to back up your case. Your lawyer will also assess the merits of your case and the extent of harm caused to you and determines the overall claim.

Seek Justice For Your PFAS Exposure With Uptown Injury!

If you believe you have developed a genetic disorder by exposure to Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF), it is crucial to seek legal guidance. Our team of experienced firefighting foam lawyers at Uptown Injury is here to help you navigate the legal complexities and pursue the justice you deserve.

Contact us today for a confidential consultation to discuss your case and explore your legal options. Your voice deserves to be heard, and we are committed to advocating for your rights and holding responsible parties accountable. Plus, you don’t have to worry about lawyer fees because we work on contingency fees. We get paid only if we win your case.

Don’t wait. Call us now at 917-540-8728 to schedule and risk-free, no-obligation consultation.

FAQS

What Regulatory Measures Are in Place for AFFF Usage?

Regulatory measures vary by jurisdiction, but there are efforts to regulate AFFF usage. For example, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) in the United States has provisions phasing out the use of AFFF in military training exercises. It requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to designate certain PFAS compounds as hazardous and formulate a safer alternative.

Can AFFF Exposure Lead to Genetic Disorders?

There is ongoing research to investigate the link between AFFF exposure and genetic disorders. While it is not definitively established, there are indications that exposure to certain chemicals in AFFF may have adverse effects on DNA and contribute to the development of genetic disorders.

What Legal Recourse Do You Have if You Believe AFFF Exposure Caused Genetic Disorders?

If you believe your genetic disorders result from AFFF exposure, you may explore legal options to seek justice and compensation. You can consult an AFFF lawyer specialized in environmental and mass tort cases to evaluate your case and determine the appropriate legal recourse.

Are AFFF Lawsuits Part of a Class-Action Lawsuit, or Can You File an Individual Claim?

Both class-action lawsuits and individual claims have been filed in connection with AFFF and PFAS exposure. The type of lawsuit you can join or file depends on several factors, including the extent of your damages, whether you want to be part of a larger group seeking compensation, and the specific circumstances of your case. Consulting with an AFFF lawyer is crucial to determine the best course of action for your situation.

What Types of Damages Can You Seek in AFFF Lawsuits?

In AFFF lawsuits, plaintiffs may seek various types of damages. These can include compensation for medical expenses related to PFAS-related health issues, loss of income or earning capacity due to illness, property damage caused by PFAS contamination, and even punitive damages to punish the responsible parties for their negligent actions.

Who Can Be Held Liable in an AFFF Lawsuit?

Several parties can be held liable in AFFF lawsuits, including manufacturers of AFFF products containing PFAS, companies that used AFFF in their firefighting operations, and even government entities that were responsible for its use. The liability depends on factors such as exposure, negligence, and the extent of harm caused.

How Do I Know if I Have a Case for an AFFF Lawsuit?

If you believe you have been exposed to AFFF or its PFAS components, and you have experienced health issues related to PFAS exposure, you might have a potential case for an AFFF lawsuit. It’s crucial to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in environmental and toxic tort litigation to evaluate the merits of your claim and determine if you qualify for compensation.

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Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers
WRITTEN AND REVIEWED BY
Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers

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