AFFF Firefighter Foam Lawsuits and Health Risks
Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), once heralded as a trusted solution for combating fuel fires, has recently revealed a dark side that has ignited a wave of lawsuits against manufacturers.
Long-term exposure to chemicals in AFFF, known as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), has been linked to serious health problems, including cancer.
Despite being used by firefighters, the military, airports, and industrial workers for decades, the true dangers of AFFF remained largely undisclosed until now. With PFAS labeled as ‘forever chemicals’ due to their persistent nature in the environment, their presence in the blood of nearly every tested individual has raised alarm bells.
Manufacturers such as 3M and DuPont have long been aware of the hazards associated with their AFFF products but failed to adequately warn users. As a result, affected individuals are taking legal action, seeking accountability for the harm caused by these companies. The pursuit of justice in AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits aims to secure compensation for those diagnosed with cancer or other health conditions due to AFFF exposure.
What Does AFFF Foam Do?
Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) is a specialized firefighting foam designed to combat flammable liquid fires. It serves a crucial role in fire suppression by rapidly extinguishing fires fueled by flammable liquids such as gasoline, oil, and jet fuel.
AFFF works by forming a thin, aqueous film on the surface of the fuel, creating a barrier that prevents the release of flammable vapors and helps to cool the fire. This film also acts as a smothering agent, cutting off the fire’s oxygen supply and suppressing the flames.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Exposure to AFFF Firefighting Foam?
AFFF firefighting foam containing per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) has raised concerns about potential long-term health effects. These chemicals have been found to permeate groundwater and soil, contaminating drinking water supplies in cities across the United States. Let’s have a closer look at the long-term effects of exposure to AFFF firefighting foam:
- Increased Risk of Certain Cancers
PFAS, known as “forever chemicals,” have the ability to persist in the body for years after exposure. As these chemicals accumulate in tissues over time, the risk of cancer may be heightened.
The long-term effects of exposure to AFFF firefighting foam may include an increased risk of the following cancers:
- Kidney cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Liver cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Ulcerative colitis
- Thyroid cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
- Pregnancy Complications and Decreased Fertility in Women
Another potential long-term effect of exposure to AFFF firefighting foam is an increased risk of pregnancy complications and decreased fertility in women. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)has indicated that PFAS exposure may adversely affect reproductive health. These effects can include an increased risk of pregnancy complications, such as preterm birth and preeclampsia, a potentially dangerous condition characterized by high blood pressure. Additionally, exposure to PFAS has been associated with decreased fertility in women, making it more challenging to conceive or maintain pregnancies.
- Developmental Delays in Children’s
Exposure to PFAS during early development has been linked to developmental delays in children. Numerous studies have demonstrated that children exposed to PFAS may experience cognitive and behavioral issues, resulting in developmental delays and learning difficulties. These challenges can have long-term consequences on a child’s academic performance and overall well-being.
- Reduced Immune System Response
Exposure to PFAS chemicals has also been associated with a reduced immune system response. These chemicals can weaken the body’s ability to fight infections and diseases, making individuals more susceptible to various health conditions. A compromised immune system can heighten the risk of illnesses and hinder the body’s natural defense mechanisms. Hence, limiting PFAS exposure is crucial to support a robust immune system and overall well-being.
- Increased Cholesterol Levels and Obesity Risk
Some research has indicated a possible link between exposure to AFFF and increased cholesterol levels in the blood. Elevated cholesterol levels can contribute to various cardiovascular health issues. Additionally, evidence suggests a potential association between PFAS exposure and an increased risk of obesity. Minimizing exposure to AFFF can help reduce the potential impact on cholesterol levels and obesity risk.
It is important to note that the long-term effects of exposure to AFFF firefighting foam are still being studied, and individual responses to exposure may vary. However, taking proactive measures to minimize exposure, such as using safer alternatives to AFFF and following safety guidelines, can help mitigate potential risks and protect long-term health.
How Long Do You Have to Be Exposed to AFFF Firefighting Foam to Develop Cancer?
Understanding the duration and methods of exposure to Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) in relation to cancer development is essential for assessing the associated risks.
Factors Influencing Cancer Risk from AFFF Exposure
While no specific timeframe guarantees the onset of cancer, various factors influence the likelihood of its occurrence, such as:
- The concentration of PFAS in AFFF
The concentration of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in AFFF plays a significant role in determining the potential risk of cancer. AFFF formulations can vary in the amount of PFAS they contain. The higher the concentration of PFAS in the foam, the greater the exposure to these potentially harmful chemicals.
- Frequency and Duration of Exposure
Even a small amount of PFOS and PFOA in AFFF can be bad for your health. However, if you’re exposed to these chemicals a lot over time, your chances of getting cancer can increase. How often you’re exposed and how strong the exposure is can affect how much of these chemicals get into your body.
- Method of Exposure
The method of exposure also affects the risk of developing cancer. AFFF exposure can occur through various pathways, including ingestion, dermal absorption (through the skin), and inhalation. Firefighters, military personnel, and individuals residing near fire or military bases are commonly exposed to toxic firefighting foam, thereby potentially increasing their risk of cancer due to these multiple exposure routes.
- Individual Susceptibility
The impact of firefighting foam exposure on cancer development can vary depending on individual factors, including genetics, overall health, and lifestyle choices. Some individuals may be more susceptible to the effects of PFAS exposure, while others may have a higher resistance.
Latency Period and Cancer Types
The latency period, or the time it takes for cancer to develop after exposure, can vary depending on the type of cancer. This timeframe can range from several months to several years, and in some cases, cancer may not develop at all.
- Shorter Latency Period
Certain cancers, such as kidney and testicular cancer, have shorter latency periods. This means that individuals may develop these types of cancers within a shorter timeframe after exposure to AFFF.
- Longer Latency Period
Other types of cancer, such as prostate and pancreatic cancer, may have longer latency periods. These cancers may take many years or even decades to manifest after exposure to AFFF.
Multifactorial Nature of Cancer Development
It is crucial to understand that cancer development is multifactorial, and AFFF exposure alone may not be the sole cause. Other factors, including genetics, lifestyle choices, and additional environmental exposures, can also contribute to an individual’s overall cancer risk.
How Can You Protect Yourself Against Exposure to AFFF Firefighting Foam?
Protecting yourself against exposure to AFFF toxic chemicals is crucial to minimize the potential risks associated with per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Here are some important measures you can take to keep yourself safe:
Replace Older AFFF Stocks With Fluorine-Free Foam Solutions
Consider using newer foam solutions that are free of PFAS. These fluorine-free alternatives can effectively combat fires without the risk of PFAS exposure.
Contain and Manage AFFF and Water Runoff
During firefighting operations, make sure to contain and manage AFFF and any water runoff properly. This prevents further contamination of the environment and reduces the likelihood of exposure to PFAS.
Wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) And a Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA)
When handling AFFF or engaging in firefighting activities involving toxic chemicals, always wear the right PPE. This includes gloves, goggles, and protective clothing. Additionally, use an SCBA to ensure a clean air supply while working in potentially contaminated areas.
Properly Remove and Bag Contaminated PPE Before Transporting
After using AFFF or being exposed to it, take care to remove your PPE properly. Place the contaminated items in a sealed bag to prevent cross-contamination and minimize the spread of PFAS.
Use Cleaning Wipes on Your Face, Neck, and Hands Immediately After Exposure
Following any contact with AFFF, use specialized cleaning wipes designed to remove contaminants from your face, neck, and hands. This helps reduce the potential absorption of PFAS through your skin.
Clean Contaminated PPE and SCBA Before Their Next Use
Thoroughly clean and decontaminate any PPE and SCBA used during AFFF-related activities before using them again. This removes any residual PFAS, reducing the risk of ongoing exposure.
Shower Within One Hour of Returning to the Station or Home
Take a thorough shower as soon as possible, preferably within one hour of being exposed to AFFF. This helps wash away any PFAS residues from your skin, minimizing the risk of further absorption.
Remember to stay informed about safety guidelines and regulations provided by relevant authorities. By following these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce your risk of exposure to AFFF firefighting foam and protect your well-being.
Who Is Accountable for the Damages Caused AFFF Exposure?
The manufacturers and distributors of firefighting foam are accused of being responsible for the toxic effects. Plaintiffs argue that despite knowing the harmful effects of the foam, these companies failed to warn the consumers. Some of the major brands named in AFFF lawsuits are the following:
3M, a multinational conglomerate, has been a significant manufacturer of firefighting foam and has faced legal action for its alleged failure to provide adequate warnings about the health risks associated with its firefighting foam products.
DuPont, a well-known chemical company, has also faced legal scrutiny for its involvement in the manufacturing and distribution of AFFF. The lawsuits allege that DuPont knew about the potential dangers of AFFF but failed to adequately warn users.
Corteva, Inc., a spin-off from DuPont, has also been implicated in legal actions related to AFFF. As a separate entity, Corteva assumes responsibility for addressing claims related to its involvement with AFFF production.
Arkema Inc., a global specialty chemicals company, has faced legal action for its role in the production and distribution of AFFF. The lawsuits claim that Arkema knew about the potential health risks associated with AFFF but failed to disclose this information adequately.
The Chemours Company
The Chemours Company, another spin-off from DuPont, has been involved in legal actions related to AFFF. The company has faced allegations of negligence and failure to warn about the potential health hazards of AFFF exposure.
These companies, along with others such as Clariant Corporation, Kidde-Fenwal, Chubb National Foam, and UTC Fire & Security Americas Corporation, are subject to legal proceedings seeking accountability for the harm caused by their AFFF products.
Types of Damages Planttifs Can Recover in AFFF Cancer Lawsuit
Medical expenses: Covering the costs of diagnosis, treatment, and ongoing medical care related to AFFF-related health conditions.
Lost wages: Compensation for income lost due to medical treatment, inability to work, or disability caused by AFFF exposure.
Pain and suffering, emotional distress: Addressing the physical and emotional pain endured as a result of health conditions caused by AFFF exposure.
Lost earning ability: Compensation for the loss of future earning potential due to AFFF-related health conditions.
Loss of enjoyment of life: Seeking compensation for the diminished quality of life experienced due to health issues caused by AFFF exposure.
Permanent disability: Providing compensation for long-term disabilities resulting from AFFF-related health conditions.
Future medical expenses and therapy costs: Covering the anticipated costs of ongoing medical treatment, therapy, and rehabilitation.
Loss of consortium: Addressing the impact on the relationships and companionship of affected individuals and their loved ones.
Other compensatory and punitive damages: Additional compensation for other losses and punitive measures to hold the responsible parties accountable.
These legal actions aim to raise awareness about the long-term health implications of AFFF exposure, hold responsible parties accountable, and seek fair compensation for the damages suffered by individuals and their families.
Need Help With Your Firefighting Foam Lawsuit?
At Uptown Injury, we understand the challenges you face in the aftermath of AFFF exposure. Our team of firefighting foam attorneys is committed to providing personalized attention, transparent communication, and tireless advocacy to help you navigate the legal process with confidence.
Contact Uptown Injury experienced firefighting foam lawyers today at 855-233-8728 to schedule your free case evaluation and let us fight for the justice and compensation you deserve. Remember, with our promise of “No Fee Unless You Win,” you can pursue your AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit without any financial worry.
Who Can File a Firefighting Foam Lawsuit Against AFFF Manufacturers?
Anyone exposed to AFFF and experiencing health issues can file an AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit against manufacturers. Eligibility depends on the link between AFFF exposure and adverse health effects. Moreover, consult firefighting foam attorneys to explore your options if you have been harmed by AFFF.
How Much Can I Get From a Firefighting Foam Lawsuit Settlement?
The AFFF lawsuit settlement amounts vary due to the unique circumstances of each case. Factors such as the severity of injuries, the extent of AFFF exposure, medical expenses, and lost wages determine the settlement amount. To understand the potential settlement amount, it is advisable to consult with a legal professional familiar with firefighting foam lawsuits.
Is Firefighting Foam Still Used?
Yes, toxic PFAS-based firefighting foam is still in use at various airports for military and commercial purposes. However, the Department of Defense is actively researching safer alternatives that are free from PFAS.
How Can an AFFF Lawyer Help Me?
An AFFF lawyer can provide guidance, handle legal complexities, and advocate on your behalf to help you seek compensation for AFFF-related health issues. They have the knowledge and experience to navigate the legal process, gather evidence, negotiate settlements, or take your case to court if necessary.
Can I File a Lawsuit Related to AFFF Exposure Even if I Am Not a Firefighter?
Yes, individuals exposed to AFFF, regardless of occupation, can file a lawsuit if they suffer adverse health effects. It is not limited to firefighters only. If exposed to AFFF and experienced negative health outcomes, you may have grounds to pursue a lawsuit.
How Long After My AFFF Foam Exposure Could I Develop Cancer?
The development of cancer after AFFF exposure can vary, and there is no specific timeframe. It may take years for the effects to manifest. Consequently, monitoring your health and seeking medical attention is important if you have been exposed to AFFF.
Can I File an AFFF Lawsuit, Even If I Choose Not to Receive Cancer Treatments?
Yes, you can still file firefighting foam cancer lawsuits even if you choose not to receive cancer treatments. Your decision regarding treatment does not affect your right to seek compensation for the associated suffering and medical expenses. Consult with firefighting foam cancer lawyers to discuss your case and the potential impact on your claim.
How Long Do I Have To File an AFFF Lawsuit?
The statute of limitations for filing an AFFF foam lawsuit varies by state. It is important to take prompt action to protect your legal rights and ensure that you meet the required deadlines. Consulting with an AFFF attorney will help you understand the specific time limits applicable to your case and enable you to file the lawsuit within the designated timeframe.