Studies Show AFFF Link to Specific Cancers


Studies Show AFFF Link to Specific Cancers

AFFF May Lead to Kidney Cancer, Testicular Cancer Thyroid Disease and More

The National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics (DCEG) has published considerable research into the connections between exposure to PFAS, the primary carcinogen in Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF), and specific cancers.  They are currently conducting a number of studies to assess the links between high PFAS exposure and cancers of the kidneys, testes, ovaries, prostate, and thyroid, as well as non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and leukemia. PFAS, standing for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance, is classified as a possible human carcinogen. While the evidence that stands as the basis of this classification is limited, there are notable associations between these cancers and subjects exposed to PFAS at high levels. The DCEG is seeking to investigate the carcinogenicity of PFAS in order to strengthen the links between high exposure and certain cancers.

Kidney Cancer

In a study published by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in September 2020, Dr. Jonathan Hofmann and the Occupational Environmental Epidemiology Branch found that participants with the highest levels of PFAS in their blood serum were over twice as likely to develop kidney cancer compared to those with the lowest levels.

The DCEG reports higher rates of kidney cancer and mortality in those with frequent, occupational exposure to PFAS. More recently, DCEG investigators conducted a study in which they found increased numbers of renal cell carcinoma, the most common form of kidney cancer, in human serum samples with high concentrations of PFAS. The sample data was taken from the Prostate, Liver, Colorectal, Ovarian Trial, which is a population reflecting the PFAS concentrations of the U.S. general population. Thus, the DCEG concludes that this study contributed to the growing evidence that PFAS is a renal carcinogen.

Testicular Cancer

Studies in lab animals have shown that increases in exposure to PFAS leads to tumors in the liver, mammary glands, pancreas, and testes. In humans, studies have compared rates of testicular cancer in groups exposed to PFAS versus groups not exposed, many suggesting a higher risk of testicular cancer after said exposure. However, the existing evidence linking PFAS exposure to testicular cancer is limited. According to the DCEG, this is because prior epidemiologic studies were constrained by factors including small sample sizes and the testing of exposure to only PFOA, which is just one type of PFAS. In response to this lack of data, the DCEG is currently conducting a similar test study to their kidney cancer research in that they are studying the PFAS levels in serum samples from Air Force Servicemen who have developed testicular cancer. The study is ongoing.

Cancer Possibly Resulting From AFFF Exposure? Contact Us

Because of the existing and proven links between exposure to PFAS – the carcinogen present in firefighting foam – those who have either kidney or testicular cancer have extremely strong potential claims. At Wilentz, we’re currently filing AFFF lawsuits for those nationwide who have been diagnosed with a wide variety of cancers after exposure to AFFF. Our attorneys have a history of great success in cases involving victims of workplace injury, and are dedicated to providing the best possible advocacy for every client. Contact our legal team to discuss your potential claim.


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