Health Effects of AFFF Firefighter Foam Exposure Beyond Cancer

chemical based firefighting foam

Firefighters are our brave heroes who put their lives on the line to protect us from life-threatening emergencies. However, their lives are not only at risk during the line of service, but they are also exposed to hazardous chemicals found in the AFFF firefighting foam. 

Recent studies have associated long term firefighting foam exposure to cancer. But it is not limited to cancer only, PFAS containing firefighting foam can cause respiratory issues, organ damages, skin problems. immune system disorder.Moreover, PFAS contamination in water and soil can also lead to environmental harm. 

How Does Aqueous Film Forming Foam Work?

AFFF foam is a mixture of water, foam concentrate, and air that can be used to control fires. It works by forming a layer over the surface of the fire, which blocks out oxygen and stops the flames from spreading. Furthermore, the AFFF foam can also cool down the fuel, reducing the chances of reignition. It is beneficial in extinguishing jet fuel fires and petroleum fires.

Which Toxic Chemicals Does AFFF Have?

AFFF foam contains harmful chemicals known as per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), commonly referred to as “forever chemicals.” These substances are persistent in the environment and can cause several adverse health effects due to their harmful nature. When firefighters use AFFF to put out fires they might be exposed to these chemicals. Moreover, PFAS chemicals can seep into the soil, contaminate water sources and create health hazards for both human and wildlife.

What Are the Health Risks of AFFF Foam?

Health Effects of AFFF Firefighter Foam Exposure Beyond Cancer

According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC), PFAS chemicals in the AFFF foam cause several diseases. Prolonged exposure to PFAS, even in small amounts, is linked to an increased risk of the following health complications:

  1. Hormonal Imbalance

Exposure to PFAS can cause hormone imbalance. These toxic chemicals can interfere with the normal functioning of hormones in the body, potentially leading to hormonal disruption and related health issues.

  1. Immune System Impairment

Exposure to PFAS carries the risk of immune system impairment, which weakens the body’s ability to fight infections and diseases. Consequently, this can result in long-term health issues as it hinders the immune response against harmful pathogens.

  1. Liver Toxicity

PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam can severely affect the liver. A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives Journal proves that PFAS can induce toxicity within the liver. Moreover, prolonged exposure to PFAS can damage the liver, impairing its functionality. This disruption hinders the body’s ability to carry out essential metabolic processes.

  1. Higher Risk of Cancer

The American Cancer Society states that PFAS may increase the incidence of the following cancers:

  • Testicular cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Other reproductive system cancers
  1. Thyroid Disease

Exposure to PFAS can interfere with the regular functioning of the thyroid gland, which can result in thyroid disorders such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

Other health complications include:

  • High Cholesterol
  • Reduced Fertility
  • Adult-Onset Asthma
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  1. Health Complications During Pregnancy

Pregnant women must exercise extreme caution regarding exposure to PFAS as it can have severe implications for both the mother’s and the unborn child’s health. Pregnant women exposed to PFOS and PFOA may experience delivery complications, including but not limited to:

  • Low Birth Weight: Infants born to mothers with significant exposure to AFFF foam may have a lower birth weight than anticipated for their gestational age.
  • Slow Child Growth: Exposure to PFAS during pregnancy could result in delayed growth and development of the child.
  • Hypertension and Preeclampsia: Pregnant women with high levels of PFAS may be at risk for pregnancy-induced hypertension, which can lead to preeclampsia. This condition can pose serious health complications for the mother and the baby.
  • Impact on Child’s Immunity: Exposure to PFAS during pregnancy can affect the child’s immune system development and reduce their response to vaccinations.

What Steps Should I Take if I Have Been Affected by AFFF?

If you’ve developed a serious medical condition due to exposure to AFFF, its essential to take the following steps to recover fully and receive the compensation you rightfully deserve:

Step 1: Seek Medical Attention

If you believe you have an AFFF-related health issue, it is essential to seek medical help. Consult with a healthcare expert. They can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment, ensuring you receive the best care.

Step 2: Seek Legal Support

PFAS exposure can lead to serious health issues and mounting medical bills. You may also have to miss work due to health complications. In these circumstances, filing a firefighting foam claim is the best option to deal with medical bills and the overwhelming financial strain. A lawyer will guide you if you are eligible to file a lawsuit, determine the value of your claim and fight on your behalf to get the compensation you deserve. 

Step 3: File a Complaint 

After collecting evidence such as medical records, PFAS exposure proof, and other related documents, your firefighting foam lawyer will help you file a complaint in the court. A well-crafted complaint may include details issue, dates, involved parties, a strong argument and desired resolution.

Step 4: Negotiate a Settlement 

Once the complaint is filed, your firefighting foam lawyer will engage in negotiations with the opposing party or their legal representatives. The goal is to reach a mutually agreeable settlement that addresses your concerns and compensates you for damages. This phase may involve discussions, offers, counteroffers, and legal strategies to achieve a favorable outcome without going to trial.

Step 5: Trial

If a settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, the case moves to trial. Your attorney will present your evidence, arguments, and legal positions in court. The trial involves both parties presenting their cases, witnesses, and cross-examinations. The judge or jury will then make a final decision based on the presented evidence and legal arguments. 

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

The AFFF lawsuits aims to achieve justice, create awareness, and prevent similar harm in the future. If the firefighting foam lawsuit proves successful, it could lead to a settlement that encompasses compensation for medical expenses, income loss, and other damages arising from exposure to PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).

Individuals or groups can file legal claims against manufacturers, distributors and users of Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) through lawsuits. To initiate a legal case, your attorney specializing in firefighting foam issues will collect evidence demonstrating the link between exposure to AFFF (Aqueous Film-Forming Foam) and the health conditions that have been diagnosed. 

Contact Uptown Injury to File an AFFF Lawsuit

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with an illness and suspect AFFF fire-fighting foam as the cause, it is recommended to act quickly and seek legal help. 

At Uptown Injury, our team of seasoned firefighting foam attorneys is standing by, ready to fight for you. We understand the complexities of these cases and are committed to guiding you through the legal process with unwavering dedication. In addition, we operate on a contingency fee basis. This means you don’t pay a dime unless we win your case.

Our experienced attorneys are here to offer a FREE consultation on your case. Reach out to our team at 917-540-8728.


How Do the Air Force and Military Personnel Use AFFF Foam?

The Air Force, airport firefighters, and military personnel use AFFF foam as an effective firefighting agent against flammable liquid fires. It is commonly used in training exercises and firefighting operations on military bases.S

What Are the Adverse Health Outcomes of Firefighting Foam?

Various chronic diseases are linked to firefighting foam, such as bladder cancer, testicular cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, and other severe medical conditions.

What Should I Do After an AFFF Firefighting Foam Cancer Diagnoses?

After an AFFF firefighting foam cancer diagnosis, it’s essential to seek immediate medical attention from experienced healthcare professionals. Additionally, consider contacting a law firm to file an AFFF cancer lawsuit. Their experienced legal team can help you seek compensation for your medical expenses and other damages.

How Do Military Firefighters Get Exposed to PFAS?

Military firefighters are exposed to PFAS compounds primarily through the use of AFFF firefighting foams in training and fire suppression. This exposure can occur directly through skin contact, inhalation, or indirectly via contaminated water or soil on military bases.

What is the Role of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in Handling AFFF Foam?

PPE protects against harmful chemicals in AFFF foam. Firefighters utilize specialized gear, such as self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) provided by the fire department, to avoid inhaling the toxic chemicals in AFFF foam.

Can I File an Individual AFFF Foam Lawsuit or as Part of a Group?

Yes, you can file an AFFF foam lawsuit individually or as part of a group, such as an AFFF class action lawsuit or firefighting foam MDL. However, choosing between filing individually or as a group depends on several factors, such as the specifics of your case and the legal approach advised by your firefighting foam attorney.

How Much Compensation Can I Seek With the Help of an AFFF Lawyer?

With the assistance of an AFFF lawyer, you can seek compensation for various damages resulting from exposure to AFFF, such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related losses. However, the amount of compensation you receive will depend on the overall strength of your 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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