Can AFFF Firefighter Foam Exposure Affect Civilians?

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Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) poses severe risks to civilians near military sites, airports, and industries where AFFF is manufactured or actively used. As its hazardous components raise concerns, we must address whether civilians are also affected by AFFF exposure.

If you are a civilian who is affected by AFFF exposure, you can file a firefighting foam lawsuit. For this purpose, you must consult a firefighting foam lawyer to evaluate your case, assist with the complaint, serve defendants, represent you in court, and help settle the case.

What Makes Aqueous Film Forming Foam Toxic?

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Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) is a foam that extinguishes fires caused by flammable liquids. However, it contains toxic chemicals known as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). Thus, these PFAS chemicals contribute to the toxicity of AFFF. This is because PFAS are persistent and do not readily break down in the environment, leading to bioaccumulation in organisms. Exposure to AFFF’s PFAS compounds has many potential health risks, such as developmental and reproductive issues, liver damage, immune system disorders, and an increased risk of certain types of cancers.

How Do Civilians Get AFFF Exposure?

Civilians can also be exposed to AFFF, facing potential health risks. Common sources of exposure include:

  1. Proximity to Military Bases and Airports

Living near military bases or airports where AFFF is used in firefighting exercises or emergency response drills can increase the risk of AFFF exposure for civilians. Moreover, the use of AFFF in these settings may lead to its release into the surrounding environment.

  1. Involvement in Firefighting Emergencies and Accidents

Civilians involved in firefighting emergencies or accidents, such as transportation incidents or industrial fires, may be harmed by toxic AFFF exposure. Additionally, these situations can result in the spreading of firefighting foams, potentially leading to exposure for nearby civilian residents.

  1. Inhalation of AFFF Fumes

When AFFF is used, it can produce fumes containing PFAS chemicals. Therefore, civilians in the vicinity may inhale these fumes, leading to exposure to AFFF compounds.

  1. Exposure From AFFF-Contaminated Water Sources

AFFF can contaminate water sources, such as wells, groundwater, or surface water, especially in areas where AFFF has been used or released. If civilians consume or drink from these contaminated sources, such as water or food grown in contaminated soil, they may ingest AFFF chemicals.

  1. Skin Contact with AFFF

Direct skin contact with AFFF can result in the absorption of the PFAS chemicals through the skin. This can occur during firefighting activities or when individuals come into contact with surfaces or objects contaminated with AFFF.

What Are the Health Risks of PFAS Exposure?

AFFF exposure, particularly to PFOA and PFOS chemicals, may pose health risks for civilians, such as:

  • Developmental and Reproductive Issues: Research suggests that exposure to firefighting foam may be linked to developmental and reproductive problems, such as the impact on fetal growth, fertility, and hormone regulation.
  • Liver Damage: AFFF products have also been associated with liver damage, potentially leading to liver function impairment and related health complications.
  • Immune System Disorders: Meanwhile, some studies indicate a possible connection between PFAS exposure and immune system disorders. Consequently, it can affect the body’s ability to defend against infections and diseases.
  • Increased Risk of Certain Cancers: While the direct link between PFAS exposure and cancer is still under investigation, some studies suggest a connection between exposure to AFFF chemicals and an increased risk of certain types of cancers, such as kidney cancer, testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and pancreatic cancer.

What Are the Legal Options for Civilians Affected by Firefighting Foam?

If you are a civilian affected by firefighting foam (AFFF) and experiencing health issues, it’s crucial to understand the legal remedies available. Here are some of the legal options to pursue:

  • Personal Injury Lawsuits: Civilians who have suffered harm due to AFFF exposure can file personal injury lawsuits. These lawsuits seek compensation for medical expenses, pain, suffering, lost wages, and other damages caused by the exposure. However, it’s essential to consult with a firefighting foam attorney specializing in toxic tort cases to assess the strength of your case and determine the best course of action.
  • AFFF Class Action Lawsuit: A class action lawsuit may be an option in situations where multiple individuals have been affected by AFFF exposure. This type of firefighting foam lawsuit allows a group of affected individuals, known as the class members, to pursue legal action against the responsible parties collectively. Additionally, class action lawsuits can provide strength in claimant numbers and efficiency in legal proceedings.
  • Mass Tort Litigation: Mass tort litigation involves multiple individual lawsuits consolidated into one legal action. It is a lawsuit for addressing cases with similar legal issues but treated individually. In AFFF exposure cases, if multiple civilians are involved and have filed individual firefighting foam cancer lawsuits, they may be consolidated into an AFFF MDL, streamlining the legal process while preserving the individuality of each case.

How to Establish Liability in an AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuit?

Determining who is responsible for the firefighting foam exposure is crucial in AFFF lawsuits. For this purpose, consulting an AFFF lawyer will help you determine liability in your firefighting foam case.

Here are key points to understand about establishing liability in AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits:

Identifying Potential Defendants

In firefighting foam cases, identifying the liable party or defendants is essential, which may include:

  • Manufacturers of AFFF that produce and distribute AFFF foam.
  • Government agencies who are responsible for regulating or approving AFFF use and overseeing its disposal.
  • Entities involved in AFFF use,such as military bases, airports, or industrial sites where AFFF is employed.

Establishing Liability

Liability in AFFF lawsuits often relies on establishing legal theories, which may include:

  • Proving negligence that the defendant had a duty of care, breached that duty, and caused harm.
  • Holding strict liability against the defendant who is responsible for harm caused by a defective product, regardless of negligence.
  • Asserting that the defendant failed to warn adequately about the dangers associated with AFFF.


Proving a causal link between AFFF exposure and the resulting harm is crucial to establish liability. This involves demonstrating that the exposure to AFFF chemicals directly caused or contributed to the plaintiff’s injuries or health conditions.

Proving a causal link between AFFF exposure and the resulting harm is crucial to establish liability. This involves demonstrating that the exposure to AFFF chemicals directly caused or contributed to the plaintiff’s injuries or health conditions.

What Are the Steps to File an AFFF Lawsuit?

If Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) exposure has impacted you and you are considering filing a lawsuit, it is crucial to seek legal help. Here are the key steps to follow when filing an AFFF lawsuit:

Research and Consultation

Start by researching a firefighting foam attorney who specializes in toxic tort cases. Once you have identified a potential attorney, schedule a consultation to discuss your situation. During this consultation, ask about the lawyer’s experience, success rate, and approach to AFFF litigation.

Case Evaluation

During the consultation, the AFFF attorney will evaluate the strength of your case. Additionally, the lawyer will review the gathered information, discuss your potential legal options, and guide you to the best course of action.

Filing a Complaint

If you decide to file a firefighting foam lawsuit, your attorney will help prepare and file a complaint on your behalf. The complaint outlines the allegations, identifies the defendants, and explains the legal basis for your claim.

Discovery and Evidence Gathering

The discovery phase involves the exchange of information between both parties. Your attorney will gather evidence to support your case, including medical records, expert opinions, witness testimonies, and any documentation related to your exposure to AFFF.

Settlement Negotiations or Trial

Once the discovery phase is complete, there may be opportunities for settlement negotiations with the defendants. Your attorney will advocate for a fair settlement compensating you for your injuries and damages. If the parties cannot reach a settlement, your case may proceed to trial, where a judge or jury will consider the evidence and make a decision.

Compensation and Resolution

If your case succeeds, the court may award you compensation for various damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related costs. The amount of compensation will depend on the specific circumstances of your case, including the extent of your injuries and the degree of liability established against the defendants.

Contact Uptown Injury for a Free Consultation

Ready to take a stand for your rights and health? Don’t let the impact of AFFF exposure go unnoticed. At Uptown Injury, our dedicated team of experienced firefighting foam attorneys is here to guide you through the legal process, providing unwavering support and guidance every step of the way.

Contact us today or call us at 917-540-8728 to schedule a consultation for a free case review.


What Should I Do if I Develop Cancer by Exposure to AFFF?

If you develop cancer due to AFFF exposure, gather evidence to build the connection of exposure to your disease and consider filing a firefighting foam cancer lawsuit. Additionally, seek guidance from a firefighting foam cancer lawyer to understand your legal rights and options.

How Can an Attorney Help With My AFFF Lawsuit?

An experienced firefighting foam attorney can assess the strength of your case, guide you through the legal process, gather evidence, negotiate settlements, or represent you in court to help secure the compensation you deserve.

What Is the Timeframe to File a Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit?

The timeframe to file an AFFF cancer lawsuit varies depending on the jurisdiction and specific circumstances. It is crucial to consult with an AFFF attorney to determine the statute of limitations for your case.

How Do I Prove AFFF Exposure Caused My Health Issues?

Proving AFFF exposure caused your health issues requires gathering evidence linking the exposure to your health condition. This includes medical records, expert opinions, and scientific studies showing the connection. A firefighting foam lawyer can help assess the strength of your case and help you present this evidence to establish the causal link of firefighting foam to your injuries.

How Can I Seek Compensation for AFFF-Related Health Issues?

To seek compensation for AFFF-related health issues, you can pursue a personal injury lawsuit. This involves gathering evidence of your exposure and its impact on your health. Consulting with an attorney specializing in personal injury cases is crucial to navigating the legal process, building a solid case, and fighting for the compensation you deserve.

Can I Still Pursue an AFFF Lawsuit if I Have Pre-existing Health Conditions?

Yes, individuals with pre-existing health conditions may still be eligible to pursue an AFFF lawsuit if their exposure to AFFF worsens their condition. Consult with a firefighting foam attorney to assess the impact of your AFFF exposure on your pre-existing health condition.

Can I Join a Class Action Lawsuit if I’ve Been Affected by AFFF Exposure?

Yes, if a class action lawsuit has been initiated for AFFF exposure, you may have the opportunity to join as a class member. Consulting with a firefighting foam lawyer can help determine if joining a class action or pursuing an individual firefighting foam lawsuit is more appropriate for your circumstances.

What Evidence Is Important to Support a Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit?

Necessary evidence includes medical records, documentation of exposure incidents, expert opinions, and other relevant documentation. Your attorney will guide you in collecting this evidence and help you build a solid firefighting foam claim.


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
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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