AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuits
AFFF Chemicals Linked To Cancer
Thousands of firefighters nationwide have been exposed to AFFF firefighting foam and may be at greater risk of developing cancer. Eligible firefighters, as well as airport workers and service members, are filing lawsuits against manufacturers. The mass tort and personal injury attorneys at Wilentz are currently representing firefighters nationwide who have developed cancer after AFFF exposure.
AFFF and Why it is Used
AFFF, which stands for aqueous film-forming foam, is a synthetic, water-based surfactant. AFFF firefighting foam was designed for the suppression of Class B fires—fires in flammable liquids such as gasoline or petroleum. The foam is effective in smothering fires and preventing them from taking in oxygen necessary to continue burning. Because of its effectiveness in fighting petroleum and jet fuel fires, AFFF was commonly used by the military, public and private airports and civilian fire departments for both training exercises and fire suppression.
AFFF firefighting foam has been sold for decades by major chemical manufacturers like 3M, Tyco, DuPont and Chemguard. Also for decades, it is alleged these companies incorporated toxic chemicals in their AFFF manufacturing. AFFF contained PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid), both belonging to a family of chemicals known as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). In 2010, the EPA requested chemical manufacturers stop using certain types of PFAS in firefighting foam.
PFAS in AFFF - What Makes Them Dangerous?
PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used in the manufacturing of a wide variety of products since the 1940s. PFOA and PFOS chemicals found in AFFF are referred to as C-8 chemicals, referencing their extremely strong 8-carbon atom chain. Commonly referred to as “forever chemicals,” PFOA and PFOS break down at an exceptionally low rate in nature and in the body.
Once in our bodies, these toxins have half-lives of up to eight years. As they accumulate over time, the potential for adverse health effects grows exponentially. PFAS have been designated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a possible human carcinogen, meaning exposure may cause cancer in humans. This determination was made based on epidemiological evidence linking exposure to diseases like kidney and testicular cancers and other health complications like hormone disruption, harm to the immune system, and liver and kidney toxicity. In 2020, the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health published a study that found PFOA to exhibit up to five key carcinogenic characteristics. Specific cancers and illnesses linked to PFAS exposure have been identified, including but not limited to:
- testicular cancer
- pancreatic cancer
- thyroid disease
- ulcerative colitis
- kidney cancer
- bladder cancer
Firefighting Foam Exposure Risks
AFFF poses risks beyond that of occupational exposure. Once released into the environment through the usage of foam, the toxins in PFAS contaminate soil, and both surface and groundwater. This provides another route for which AFFF can impact entire communities; those living in or around military sites, or sites in which AFFF has been disposed of, may be ingesting PFAS through drinking water due to contaminated municipal water supplies.
AFFF Lawsuits - What is Being Done?
Current AFFF lawsuits allege that the AFFF manufacturers were aware of the potential health risks from AFFF exposure, but continued to produce their products and market it as safe for use. For this, the attorneys at Wilentz are determined to hold them accountable.
3M, the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, is claimed to be responsible for the toxic exposure of firefighters and other workers that have employed the use of AFFF. They, along with others like Chemguard, Tyco Fire Products, National Foam and Buckeye Fire Equipment, are being sued for continuing to manufacture AFFF after being made aware of the danger exposure to their product posed. Claims from all over the country are currently being consolidated into a multi-district litigation in South Carolina Federal Court.
Filing An AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuit
Wilentz is currently representing firefighters, military members, and civilians who are suffering from cancer or other related illnesses due to exposure to AFFF firefighting foam. If you or a family member were diagnosed with testicular cancer, kidney cancer, thyroid disease, pancreatic cancer, ulcerative colitis, bladder cancer, breast cancer, or potentially other illnesses, you may qualify to file a claim. If you do qualify, you may be eligible to be compensated for personal injuries, pain and suffering and. economic damages arising from your cancer diagnosis, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and reduced earning capacity.
Get A Free and Confidential Case Evaluation
For generations, the attorneys at Wilentz have fought for the rights of victims of workplace injuries, and held negligent companies accountable for their harmful products. If you or someone you know were exposed to AFFF and have developed cancer, please contact us regarding possible legal representation. To speak with an attorney about your legal options, please call: 888-416-0685.