Which Professions Are Involved in AFFF Firefighter Foam Lawsuits?
Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) is a firefighting foam used to extinguish fires involving flammable liquids, such as oil and gasoline. AFFF contains per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of toxic chemicals linked to several health problems, including cancer, thyroid disease, and reproductive problems.
Besides firefighters, professions involved in AFFF exposure lawsuits include military personnel, airport workers, industrial workers, and emergency responders. These workers handle or work near AFFF during fire suppression, training, or maintenance tasks. Individuals have filed lawsuits to hold manufacturers accountable for alleged health issues resulting from AFFF exposure.
Which Occupations Are Involved in AFFF Exposure and How?
Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) exposure extends beyond firefighters, impacting various occupations due to the involvement in activities where firefighting foam is used or present. These high-risk occupations involve:
1. Military Personnel
Military personnel, particularly those involved in aircraft operations and firefighting, can face exposure to Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) in several ways, such as:
Military firefighters handle AFFF containers, operate foam applicators, and actively use firefighting foam during firefighting training exercises. Without proper safety measures, they may be exposed to AFFF through skin contact, inhalation of aerosolized particles, or ingestion.
Military personnel are also involved in emergency response efforts, such as aircraft fires or incidents involving flammable substances. They work alongside firefighting teams in handling AFFF equipment, assisting in foam application, or exposure to airborne particles during firefighting operations.
Maintenance and Inspections
Military staff responsible for aircraft maintenance and inspections may encounter AFFF during routine tasks. It can include inspections of fire suppression systems, testing equipment functionality, or maintenance activities in areas where AFFF may be present. Exposure can occur through AFFF residues, accidental spills, or inhalation of vapors during system inspections.
2. Airport and Airline Workers
Airport firefighters, baggage handlers, and aircraft maintenance crews, among others, can come into contact with AFFF through the following exposure routes:
Airport firefighters are at the forefront of AFFF exposure as they engage in firefightingoperations. They handle AFFF equipment, including foam applicators and hoses, and apply AFFF directly to extinguish fires. Skin contact, inhalation of aerosolized particles, or accidental ingestion of foam residues are possible exposure pathways.
Airport and airline workers participate in training drills that involve firefighting simulation exercises. AFFF is often used during these exercises, exposing workers to the foam through direct handling, foam application, or being close to AFFF application areas.
Equipment Handling and Maintenance
Baggage handlers, aircraft maintenance crews, and other workers may contact AFFF when handling equipment associated with its use, such as foam applicators or storage containers. Direct contact with AFFF residues, accidental spills, or inadequate decontamination practices can lead to exposure.
3. Industrial Workers
Industrial workers in manufacturing, chemical plants, and oil refineries can encounter AFFF exposure in the following ways:
Fire Suppression Activities
Industrial workers sometimes use AFFF to extinguish fires caused by flammable liquids. They might handle equipment, use foam sprayers to apply the AFFF or breathe in tiny particles that float in the air. If there’s a fire, these workers might help or be part of the team that tries to extinguish it.
System Maintenance and Inspections
Workers responsible for maintaining and inspecting fire suppression systems, such as sprinkler or foam-based suppression systems, can contact AFFF. It can occur during routine maintenance tasks, system inspections, or testing activities.
Industrial workers can be exposed to AFFF during cleanup operations following chemical spills or leaks. Workers involved in the cleanup process may handle AFFF residues or work in areas where AFFF was applied.
4. Emergency Responders
Emergency responders, including HAZMAT teams and industrial firefighters, can encounter AFFF exposure in the following scenarios:
Response to Hazardous Materials Incidents
When responding to incidents involving flammable substances, or hazardous materials, emergency responders may use AFFF as part of firefighting and containment efforts. It can result in exposure to AFFF through handling equipment or direct contact with the foam.
Cleanup and Decontamination
Emergency responders involved in cleaning and decontaminating incidents may encounter AFFF residues. Handling contaminated materials or being near AFFF application areas during cleanup operations can lead to exposure.
Inhalation of Airborne Particles
When workers clean up or fix things contaminated with AFFF, they might breathe in tiny particles with PFAS chemicals. Breathing in these particles can increase their exposure to AFFF.
What Are the Health Risks of AFFF Exposure?
According to several studies done by the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), exposure to Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) can result in various health risks, primarily due to the presence of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals in the foam. Here are a few health risks associated with AFFF exposure:
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has established a connection between exposure to per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and an elevated risk of specific types of cancer. These cancers may include kidney, testicular, prostate, thyroid, and other forms of cancer. Regulatory agencies also classify PFAS chemicals as potential carcinogens, raising concerns about their link to cancer development.
PFAS chemicals in AFFF can disrupt hormonal balance, possibly causing reproductive disorders, fertility issues, and complications during pregnancy. Studies indicate potential adverse effects on the reproductive system and fetal development.
Prolonged exposure to PFAS chemicals has been associated with liver damage and abnormalities in liver function. These chemicals can accumulate in the liver, leading to inflammation and fibrosis.
Immune System Dysfunction
AFFF exposure actively suppresses and disrupts the immune system’s functioning. PFAS chemicals can impair immune response, making individuals more susceptible to infections and diseases.
Exposure to PFAS chemicals during critical stages of development, including in utero or during early childhood, may result in developmental issues. These can include delayed growth, learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and impacts on cognitive development.
PFAS chemicals found in AFFF can disrupt the normal functioning of the endocrine system, which regulates hormones in the body. This disruption can lead to hormonal imbalances, affecting various bodily functions and potentially causing health problems.
AFFF negatively impacts the environment by contaminating soil, groundwater, and surface water. PFAS chemicals, known as “forever chemicals,” can accumulate in wildlife and ecosystems, posing risks to biodiversity due to their persistence in the environment.
How Can Uptown Injury Assist You in Filing an AFFF Lawsuit?
If you or a loved one was exposed to firefighting foam on the service and were diagnosed with cancer. In that case, you may be able to seek compensation through a firefighting foam cancer lawsuit. AtUptown Injury, our team of firefighting foam lawyers provides you with the necessary guidance, support, and legal representation to pursue an AFFF lawsuit effectively.
What Evidence Is Typically Needed to Support an AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuit?
Important evidence for an AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit includes medical records of health issues, documentation of AFFF exposure at work, witness testimonies, and scientific research supporting the link between AFFF exposure and health effects. Your attorney will help gather this evidence to strengthen your case.
What Is an Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF)?
AFFF is a firefighting foam used for flammable liquid fires, such as jet fuel and petroleum-based products. It contains harmful PFAS chemicals which persistent in the environment. Despite effective fire suppression properties, concerns arise due to the adverse effects of AFFF on human health and the environment.
Who Is Eligible for the AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuit?
Eligible individuals for the AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit are those exposed to AFFF and experiencing adverse health effects, including firefighters, military personnel, airport workers, and nearby residents.
What Is AFFF Fire Fighting Foam Lawsuit?
It is a legal action against firefighting foam manufacturers and companies. Individuals who have suffered harm from exposure to the foam and its toxic chemicals, such as PFAS, file this lawsuit. Allegations claim defendants knew the risks but failed to warn the consumers. Plaintiffs seek compensation for health issues, like cancer, and hold defendants accountable for their actions.
How Much Can I Get From a Firefighting Foam Settlement?
Settlement amounts in AFFF lawsuits can range from $40,000 to $300,000 or more. Compensation varies based on damages, claimants, and settlement terms. Consult a specialized firefighting foam lawyer to assess potential compensation accurately.
What Is the Purpose of AFFF Firefighting Foam Multidistrict Litigation (MDL)?
AFFF firefighting foam MDL consolidates similar cases from various districts into one federal court for efficiency and coordinated handling. The aim is to expedite resolution, facilitate settlements, and provide a forum for affected individuals seeking compensation and accountability from responsible parties for AFFF exposure.
How Can a Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyer Help Me?
A firefighting foam cancer lawyer provides guidance and support to AFFF-exposed individuals. They assess the case, gather evidence, navigate legal processes, and advocate for your rights. An AFFF lawyer’s expertise increases the chances of fair compensation and holding responsible parties accountable.
How Do Successful AFFF Lawsuits Potentially Impact Future Firefighting Practices and AFFF Regulation?
Successful AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits drive positive changes such as safer alternatives, better regulation, increased awareness, and industry accountability. These lawsuits prioritize firefighter safety and minimize health hazards from AFFF exposure.