Navy Service, AFFF Firefighter Foam Exposure, and Cancer Link

Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) is a firefighting foam used to combat flammable liquid fires, such as jet fuel fires and petroleum fires. It comprises man-made chemicals known as per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Unfortunately, studies have linked AFFF to an increased risk of cancer in individuals regularly exposed to it. 

The U.S. Navy has used AFFF for decades to fight fires on ships and military bases. As a result, you may have been exposed to PFAS and developed a risk of certain cancers and adverse health outcomes such as cardiovascular disorders, liver damage, and kidney, testicular, prostate, and pancreatic cancer.

fire fighting foam- PFAS exposure

What Cancers Have Been Linked to AFFF Exposure?

Scientific studies conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) have linked specific types of cancers to AFFF firefighting foam, such as:

  • Bladder Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer 
  • Lung Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Reproductive Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Endometrial Cancer 

How Can PFAS Cause Cancer?

For decades, various industrial and consumer products have utilized dangerous chemicals known as PFAS (per and polyfluoroalkyl substances). The common PFAS chemicals include:

  • Perfluoro-octane sulfonate (PFOS)
  • Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)

Moreover, PFAS are highly persistent in the environment, meaning they do not break down easily and can accumulate in living organisms. There are several health risks that contribute to PFAS carcinogenic potential:

Cellular Damage

PFAS can cause DNA damage and disrupt cellular processes. They can alter gene expression, which may lead to uncontrolled cell growth and the formation of cancerous tumors.


Exposure to PFAS can trigger chronic inflammation, which scientists have linked to cancer development. Inflammation creates an environment that promotes the growth of cancer cells and inhibits the body’s ability to suppress tumor formation.

Hormone Disruption

PFAS chemicals can lead to hormone disruption, which can interfere with the body’s hormonal balance and contribute to cancer development.

Immune System Suppression

Prolonged exposure to PFAS can weaken the immune system’s ability to identify and destroy cancerous cells. This impaired immune response can allow cancer or tumor cells to spread.


PFAS accumulates in specific organs, particularly in the liver and kidneys. This bioaccumulation can lead to higher concentrations of PFAS in the body over time, increasing the potential for long-term health effects, including cancer.

What Factors Can Influence the Risk of Cancer From AFFF Exposure to Navy Veterans?

Several factors can influence cancer risk from AFFF firefighting foam exposure, such as:

  • Duration and Intensity of Exposure: If you have experienced prolonged and frequent exposure to AFFF during firefighting and training, then you can face a higher risk of cancer.
  • Type of AFFF Used: The specific formulation of AFFF used can vary, and some formulations may contain higher levels of harmful chemicals like per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which could increase the cancer risk.
  • Work Environment: The proximity to AFFF storage areas, practice exercises, and ventilation in Navy vessels and facilities can impact exposure levels and influence the risk of cancer.
  • Individual Health Status: Pre-existing health conditions, metabolism disorders, and weak immune response may influence how AFFF exposure increases cancer risk.
  • Genetic Factors: Genetic variations can influence your susceptibility to the carcinogenic effects of PFAS found in AFFF.
  • Lifestyle Choices: Certain lifestyle habits, such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, may interact with AFFF exposure and contribute to increased cancer risk.

How Do Navy Personnel Come Into Contact With AFFF?

During your service, you may encounter AFFF firefighting foam through various means, such as:

Firefighting Training and Drills

During firefighting training to handle fires, Navy personnel are exposed to AFFF foam to suppress fires caused by flammable liquids.

Firefighting on Navy Ships

When a fire breaks out on board, AFFF is used to extinguish the flames and prevent the fire from spreading. Participation in such firefighting operations can also lead to your AFFF exposure.

Aircraft Fire Emergencies

In emergencies involving aircraft, such as fires on the flight deck or in hangars, AFFF is used to suppress the flames quickly. Dealing with aircraft emergencies may expose you to the firefighting foam.

Crash and Salvage Operations

During salvage operations, aircraft accidents, or crashes at sea, AFFF is used to control fires and handle the aftermath of the accidents. In these situations, you may be exposed to the harmful chemicals in the AFFF firefighting foam.

Maintenance and Testing

Regular maintenance and testing ensure that firefighting systems on Navy ships are working properly. During these procedures, AFFF is used to check if the firefighting equipment functions correctly. As a Navy firefighter, you may come in contact with AFFF while conducting these maintenance and testing activities.

Accidental Spills

Accidents can occur during the storage, handling, or transportation of AFFF on Navy ships or bases. An accidental spill of a container holding AFFF can spread fire, potentially exposing you to firefighting foam. Exposure can also occur through direct skin contact or inhalation of AFFF particles in the air.

 AFFF foam- AFFF chemicals AFFF lawsuits

What Precautions Can Navy Personnel Take To Minimize Their AFFF Exposure?

To protect yourself from the risks of Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) exposure, you can take several precautions:

  • Use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves, masks, and suits, to minimize direct skin contact and inhalation of AFFF during firefighting and emergency response operations.
  • Follow Safety Guidelines: Follow safety protocols and guidelines for handling, using, and disposing of AFFF to reduce the risk of exposure.
  • Training and Awareness: Take comprehensive training about the potential hazards of AFFF and how to use it safely. Increase your awareness of the risks and proper protective measures.
  • Limit Exposure: Whenever possible, limit the duration and extent of exposure to AFFF and its fumes by using it judiciously and in well-ventilated areas.
  • Proper Storage and Handling: Ensure AFFF is stored correctly, and follow manufacturer recommendations for handling the foam safely.
  • Regular Health Checkups: Seek regular physical checkups to monitor any health effects of AFFF exposure and detect early signs of health issues.
  • Use Safer Alternatives: Explore and adopt environmentally friendly and less toxic firefighting foams alternatives whenever feasible.

Want to File Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits? Get Help From Uptown Injury!

If you or a loved one has been affected by cancer from AFFF exposure, don’t suffer in silence. At Uptown Injury, our experienced firefighting foam attorneys are here to help. We understand the complexities of the AFFF cancer lawsuit and the significant impact these cases have on victims and communities. We are committed to fighting for your rights and seeking justice.

Our lawyers will help you gather evidence, build a strong argument, negotiate with the defendant’s insurance team, and get you the compensation you deserve. Furthermore, we work on a contingency fee, so would not have to worry about any out-of-pocket costs. 

Contact us or call us at 917-540-8728 to schedule a FREE consultation today! Let us help you navigate the legal system without any worries.


Who Is at Risk of Developing Cancer and Eligible for Filing Firefighter Cancer Lawsuits?

Firefighters, military personnel, airport workers, industrial workers, and others who work with or are frequently exposed to AFFF are particularly at risk of developing cancer. Furthermore, they are also eligible to file firefighter cancer lawsuits.

How Can FAA Workers Be Exposed to Fire Fighting Foams?

FAA workers, particularly those involved in firefighting or emergency response operations, who actively engage with AFFF during firefighting exercises or real-life incidents are at a higher risk of being exposed to AFFF.

What Damages Can Be Compensated in Firefighter Foam Lawsuits?

In a firefighter foam lawsuit, the plaintiff can receive compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and damages for pain and suffering. Additionally, the responsible party may be subject to punitive damages aimed to punish their negligent actions and discourage similar behavior in the future.

Why Is AFFF Considered Toxic?

AFFF is a toxic firefighting foam due to the presence of hazardous substances known as per and poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAS). PFAS are persistent and bio accumulative in nature and can cause serious health issues, including cancer. 

How Can You Determine AFFF Lawsuit Settlement Amounts?

The settlement amounts in AFFF Lawsuits can range from $40,000 to $300,000 or more. However, the settlement amount is influenced by various factors such as the severity of the injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and impact on the quality of life.

How Can Firefighting Foam Lawyers Help Me?

Firefighting foam lawyers can help you understand your rights and legal options. They will assess the strength of your case, gather evidence, and navigate the legal complexities on your behalf. Firefighting foam lawyers also help you seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages you may have incurred due to AFFF exposure.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Firefighting Foam Attorney?

Most firefighting foam attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only receive a payment if they successfully win your case. Typically, they will offer a free initial consultation to assess your case. If you proceed, they will cover the legal costs and expenses. If the case succeeds, they will deduct these costs from the settlement or compensation.

What Should I Do if I Have Been Exposed to AFFF?

If exposed to AFFF, it is essential to seek medical attention to address any symptoms or health concerns related to the exposure. Additionally, consider consulting a firefighting foam attorney to understand your legal rights and options.


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

This content is trustworthy because it has been thoroughly researched, fact-checked and reviewed by experts in the field. The information provided is accurate and reliable, and sources have been cited to ensure transparency and credibility. The authors or publishers of this content have a reputation for producing high-quality, unbiased material. Additionally, any potential conflicts of interest or biases have been disclosed. Overall, readers can trust that the information presented in this content is trustworthy and credible.