Firefighting Foam Lawsuits for Cancers
AFFF stands for aqueous film-forming foam. It's often referred to simply as firefighting foam. The chemicals in AFFF are unsafe and have been proven to cause cancer. Yet, firefighters, police officers, military personnel, airport workers, and civilian first responders used this material for years without knowing the effects of long-term occupational exposure to firefighting foam.
Were you a firefighter or regularly exposed to AFFF and recently diagnosed with kidney, pancreatic, prostate, or testicular cancer? If so, you may be able to file an AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit against 3M Company (the manufacturer) and other companies that made per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contaminated products.
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys are legal advocates for those harmed by dangerous chemicals. You should know that a $1 billion AFFF lawsuit settlement will compensate those affected by these hazardous chemicals.
Contact our products liability attorneys at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation at our law firm.
All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Firefighters use more than just water to put out fuel fires. Sometimes, they will use foam to deprive a fire of oxygen and suppress it. It reduces the amount of time and effort to extinguish the fire.
However, while aqueous foam helps firefighters do their job, it puts their safety and everyone else in the surrounding area at risk. For example, firefighters and others developing cancer might have cases tied to occupational exposure to firefighting foam.
As a result, those regularly exposed to AFFF and their families have filed toxic exposure cases against firefighting foam manufacturers. These cases are based on the side effects that they have had to endure after being exposed to aqueous film firefighting foam.
These firefighting foam cases can include firefighters and anyone else in the vicinity of a fire.
Update: Current AFFF Lawsuits
In June and July 2022, 115 new AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit cases were filed into the AFFF litigation, bringing the total to nearly 2,700 claims, including prior mass tort cases.
Many new plaintiffs filing claims against chemical companies had lived near federal military bases where the fire suppression foam was used. Many plaintiffs claim that the base's use of the foam led to PFAS chemicals contaminating the water source, resulting in suffering adverse health problems and a cancer diagnosis.
Where AFFF Products Are Used
According to the US Fire Administration, while firefighting foam products are used by military and commercial airlines that use jets, they became popular in firefighting efforts on aircraft carriers because of their ability to put out fires quickly.
But there are also other areas where you can regularly expect these types of firefighting foam products to be used:
- Fire departments
- Military bases
- Chemical plants
- Offshore oil rigs
- Gas refineries
- Bulk fuel storage centers
- Commercial airlines
- Bus and truck fleets
Besides these uses, AFFF firefighting foams are used in airports and military training exercises.
What Our AFFF Lawyers Know About PFOS and PFOA
PFOA and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) are two 'forever chemicals” linked to illnesses such as thyroid disease, high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis, testicular cancer, and pregnancy-induced hypertension.
Many studies have linked these chemicals to health risks. However, the government has yet to put any warning or label on AFFF firefighting foam-based products.
So far, there is no ban against PFOA or PFOS, but there should be.
These chemicals are not just linked to cancer. Recently, researchers have linked these chemicals to lower birth weights in babies.
Aqueous Film Forming Foam Cancer Lawyers
Did you or a loved one develop cancer due to AFFF exposure to toxic chemicals that polluted your environment through firefighting foam? You may be able to file a cancer AFFF lawsuit.
Contact the firefighting foam cancer attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, to learn how you or your family member may be eligible for financial compensation by filing a firefighter foam lawsuit.
The Toxic Chemicals of AFFF Firefighting Foam Presents a Danger
The primary safety issue with firefighting foam comes from using a specific chemical called per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
The problem with PFAS chemicals is that it simply does not go away. Instead, it builds up over time wherever it is found. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has documented the harmful effects of this chemical.
PFAS is found in many different places. For example, PFAS has been increasingly found in the water supplies of many cities and municipalities. Occupational exposure to firefighting foam can lead to a pancreatic or prostate cancer diagnosis.
Firefighting Film Forming Foams are Called 'Forever Chemicals'
There is a good chance that PFAS firefighting foam chemicals are found in your drinking water. Either way, the decades-long use of PFAS has subjected many to numerous health risks.
The chemical has earned the nickname 'the forever chemical” because it has an extremely long half-life. It is made of a bond between carbon and fluorine.
The bond needs to be strong to give PFAS its heat-resistant qualities. The correctly composed firefighting foam can help firefighters put out fires.
AFFF Exposure to PFAS Increases the Risk of Cancer
The problem is that these beneficial qualities become dangerous when the chemicals build up in the firefighters' bodies exposed to firefighting foam or anyone in the vicinity when AFFF has been used.
Here, the issue is that the effects of firefighting foams remain for many years, even after the fire is put out. If foams were used on a fire, they still contaminate the soil and seep into the groundwater.
As a result, firefighting film-forming foams can harm anyone in the area. In addition, you can live thousands of feet away from an extinguished fire and have a greater risk of getting sick for years.
The General Public Realizes the Danger of This Fire Suppressant
Even though PFAS has been used for decades since the 1940s, the general public is only starting to understand how dangerous these chemicals are when exposed to them.
The EPA has concluded that PFAS chemicals can lead to kidney damage, immune system impairment, and reproductive issues.
Considering what the EPA has concluded, it is not surprising that the cancers tied to PFAS exposure have primarily been in the kidneys, testicles, and pancreas.
Specifically, the following impacts on human health have been connected to PFAS exposure:
- Kidney cancer and neuroendocrine tumors
- Pancreatic cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Liver cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Bladder cancer
In addition, AFFF exposure to PFAS can also cause an increased risk of infertility and damage to the immune system. The effects on the human body are significant and may not even be known entirely.
The PFAS Family Includes Thousands of Chemicals
Another problem is that some PFAS chemicals are still available in the United States. PFAS is a family of over 4,000 chemicals like perfluoroalkyl, some of which have been banned.
However, new forms of PFAS are no safer than those banned. The danger is even more significant because the damage and effects of the banned dangerous chemicals will remain with us for many years since PFAS does not go away quickly.
The potential universe of plaintiffs in these firefighting foam lawsuit cases is broad due to AFFF exposure. All firefighters, US military members, airport workers, and Federal Aviation Administration workers who worked with an AFFF foam for some time are at risk of developing these types of cancer.
Anyone exposed to AFFF (fire fighting foam) at work or from contaminated drinking water or municipal water supplies could be eligible to recover compensation for your condition.
Military firefighters filed a recent AFFF foam lawsuit after ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, or cancer diagnosis, including pancreatic cancer.
Environmental Contamination Caused by Firefighter Foam
You may be able to file a lawsuit if you live in a surrounding area and have been exposed to firefighting foams in your environment, especially in your groundwater.
For example, if you have lived on US military bases, you may have been exposed to dangerous fuel fires.
The general public has every reason to be angry about illnesses tied to PFAS exposure, especially those caused by firefighting foam. Simply stated, the dangers of firefighting foam have been known for decades.
Nevertheless, generations of firefighters were forced out of a job and made to use a dangerous product everyone knew was hazardous.
Exposure to Carcinogens
In addition, people who live in areas where these chemicals were used were also exposed to carcinogens that many knew were a risk.
There is evidence that the Department of Defense knew fully well the dangers of firefighting film-forming foams in the 1970s that these products were possible carcinogens.
It means that generations of military firefighters, US military personnel, and their families on military bases were exposed to possible dangers and increased risk of developing severe health problems.
Of course, it is difficult to sue the federal government for a tort, and service members can't do so. Nonetheless, exposed US military members may be eligible to join a potential AFFF lawsuit due to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFAS) contamination, leading to adverse health effects.
Diseases Linked to Firefighting Foam PFAS
The dangers of PFAS in AFFF Firefighting Foam PFAS ( perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) have gained attention in recent years after it was labeled "forever chemicals" due to their inability to break down.
PFAS contamination can lead to the following:
- Lung Cancer
- Brain Tumors
- Skin Cancer
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Testicular Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Stomach Cancer
- Colon Cancer
- Rectal Cancer
- Uterine Cancer
- Cervical Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Laryngeal Cancer
- Thyroid Cancer
- Eye Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Gallbladder Cancer
- Bone Cancer
- Head/Neck Cancer
- Soft Tissue Sarcomas
AFFF Lawsuits Related to Fire-Fighting Foam
However, you can file a firefighter foam lawsuit against the AFFF manufacturers of these toxic firefighting foam products. There is also evidence that they may have been aware of the health effects of PFAS chemicals back in the 1960s.
Yet, these national foam chemical manufacturers continued to sell firefighting film-forming foams containing perfluorooctanoic acid.
AFFF firefighting foam is a fire suppressant used by firefighters to extinguish fires quickly. It stands for Aqueous Film Forming Foam, creating a thin film on top of the fire, smothering it, and keeping oxygen from fuelling it.
Firefighting Foam Class Action
Despite its fire-fighting prowess, AFFF firefighting foam has come under fire in recent years due to its potentially toxic ingredients. Numerous firefighting class action lawsuits are pending against manufacturers of AFFF foam, as many have reported severe health problems due to exposure to PFAS foams.
While the results of these firefighter foam lawsuits may still be pending, firefighter safety should not be taken lightly, and proper protective measures are recommended while using these foams.
The number of pending AFFF lawsuits concerning firefighting foam contamination is increasing daily. Plaintiffs in these cases seek damages for physical and emotional harm related to their exposure to the foam and cleanup costs resulting from contaminated water sources.
In many instances, industrial companies have sought to dismiss or move the cases out of state court and into federal court to limit liability. It has left many plaintiffs feeling disenfranchised and overwhelmed, adding to the already-heavy burden of suffering these individuals face.
Despite legal challenges, however, progress is being made toward recognizing the harm caused by AFFF contamination and justice for those affected.
Firefighting Foam Lawsuit: AFFF MDL Litigation
Currently, many different AFFF lawsuits are tied to using firefighting foam. First, there is Multi-District Litigation (MDL) in Federal District Court in South Carolina.
The pending AFFF class action MDL is Firefighting Foam Products Liability Litigation MDL No. 2873 before Judge Richard Mark Gergel.
In recent news, Judge Gergel set ten bellwether cases involving water providers, moving the cases into the "Tier One" discovery stage that ended in August 2021. Reports indicate that numerous parties might conduct additional discovery when Tier Two proceedings begin, advancing the AFFF lawsuit cases to trial.
An MDL is similar to an AFFF class-action lawsuit. However, unlike class-action AFFF lawsuits, MDL firefighting foam cases are heard individually for trial, usually in federal court.
As of this writing, 753 open AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits are a part of this multi-district litigation in South Carolina for AFFF foam exposure.
Many plaintiffs in these firefighting foam lawsuits have alleged that their AFFF exposure to firefighting foam caused them to develop cancer.
Sample cancers include prostate, pancreatic, testicular, and breast cancer. Other pending AFFF lawsuit cases allege blood cancer (leukemia, lymphoma) due to PFAS contamination.
Cities and Municipalities Filing AFFF Foam Lawsuits
In addition, other firefighting foam lawsuits are being filed. For example, states and municipalities have begun filing firefighting foam cancer lawsuits against the makers of AFFF foam due to groundwater contamination, which destroys their drinking water supplies.
The City of Melbourne, Florida, and its airport became one of the most recent plaintiffs filing AFFF lawsuits against film-forming foam AFFF makers for the environmental damage and the cleanup costs they have been forced to bear.
The Michigan Attorney General has also filed a consumer protection AFFF lawsuit for consumers who sold these dangerous products. Nearly three dozen companies are being accused of concealing the dangers of these products from the public.
More firefighting foam lawsuits are likely on the way as more cities and states realize the environmental mess they have been left with and their citizens' risks.
Defendants of AFFF Litigation Processes
In addition to the number of plaintiffs involved, there are also multiple defendants, including asbestos companies like:
- Johns Manville
- Owens Corning
- GAF Corporation
- Unarco Industries
- Armstrong World Industries
- Pittsburgh Corning Corp.
- Fibreboard Corporation
- Nicolet Industries Inc.
- H.K. Porter Co.
- W.R. Grace & Co.
- Raymark Industries
- Keene Building Products
- Rock Wool Manufacturing
- Turner Construction Company
- Lummus Asbestos Abatement
- Combustion Engineering
- Babcock & Wilcox
New defendants are still being added to these AFFF lawsuits. The map released by the Environmental Working Group identifies additional potential defendants that have caused environmental contamination by using dangerous chemicals.
The complex litigation involves hundreds of thousands of plaintiffs alleging that they developed cancer from exposure to the film-forming foam AFFF. Plaintiffs allege that AFFF products caused them to develop cancer over decades while working, costing them millions in medical expenses.
AFFF lawsuit claims have been filed against specific third parties, including distributors and retailers who sold AFFF products to end users. These third-party defendants include Sika North America, Inc., Crown Cork & Seal Company, Inc., J.W. Childers Associates, Inc., PPG Industries, Inc., Celanese Ltd., and others.
AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuits: AFFF Lawsuit Settlement Amounts
AFFF settlement amounts in litigation depend on a variety of factors. Their amounts may differ based on the injury sustained, time and nature of exposure, medical bills, or other case-specific details.
You may be entitled to participate in the AFFF lawsuit settlement if you have developed cancer due to PFAS contamination.
Looking at the flow of prior MDL litigations, the current AFFF MDL lawsuits in the AFFF class action lawsuit are anticipated to be going towards a global settlement.
The AFFF exposure attorneys estimate that:
- Top-tier plaintiffs in the AFFF settlement will receive between $200,000 and $500,000.
- Second-tier plaintiffs could expect a settlement in the $150,000 to $300,000 range.
- Firefighting foam class action settlement amounts of $75,000 or less are likely for the third and lower tiers.
AFFF Foam Lawsuit Litigation
As noted above, AFFF litigation is unique because it includes many cancers. Approximately 2,500 plaintiffs claim to have developed mesothelioma. Mesothelioma develops when asbestos fibers cause scarring inside the lungs.
Approximately 4,300 plaintiffs claim to have developed lung cancer due to their exposure. Lung cancer occurs when asbestos fibers cause scar tissue inside the lungs. Scar tissue interferes with oxygen exchange and eventually leads to death.
About 200 plaintiffs filed an AFFF lawsuit claiming they developed brain tumors due to their asbestos exposure. Brain tumors are the most common solid tumor in childhood and account for nearly half of all pediatric malignancies. They usually affect children under age 15.
FAQs About AFFF Firefighting Foam Dangers
Our personal injury law firm understands that many families have questions about filing an AFFF lawsuit after being harmed by products containing dangerous aqueous film-forming foam or developing kidney cancer or other life-threatening medical conditions. An attorney from our team has answered some of those questions below.
Contact our law firm at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) for additional information about filing a claim, the current status of class-action AFFF lawsuit litigation, and the dangers to human health.
Is AFFF foam toxic?
Studies have shown that AFFF firefighting film-forming foams were toxic, caused health issues, and developed some form of cancer. The worst part is that this has long been known even though these products were used for years afterward.
Studies have shown that firefighters exposed to firefighting foam have higher toxins in their bloodstream. However, our firefighting foam cancer lawyers are still learning the impact of these health risks.
Now, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers AFFF foam hazardous because it can cause eye and skin irritation.
What is in firefighting foam?
While firefighting foam is marketed as a "simple" mix of water, foam concentrate, and air, the truth is that the contents may be far more dangerous.
Here, the danger comes from the possible presence of two different PFOA and PFOS compounds. These are perfluorooctane acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).
These toxic chemicals stay in the body indefinitely because they are not chemically capable of going away, which is why they are known as "forever chemicals." Therefore, PFAS exposure might build up in the body over time, wreaking havoc and causing severe conditions, including prostate, kidney, and testicular cancer.
What percentage of finished foam is water?
While a large percentage of firefighting foam is water, this does not remove the hazards people face when exposed to the foam.
About 94% of firefighting foam is mixed with water, and 6% of fire suppression foam is concentrated. The problem is that the foam concentrate contains hazardous substances not neutralized by the water.
Is class A foam toxic?
Class A toxic chemicals are more than just dangerous. If you ingest it, you die.
Exposure to AFFF foam is an irritant for the eyes and skin, which is why OSHA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) characterize it as hazardous.
The dangers of AFFF firefighting foam are in the long-term effects on people exposed to it for a prolonged period.
Does firefighting foam cause cancer?
Polyfluoroalkyl substance PFAS is known as the "forever chemical," and it stays in the body. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), exposure to PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substances) can be a possible carcinogen when buildup occurs.
Human exposure to firefighting film-forming foams has led to cases of linked testicular, kidney, and bladder cancer, which is why plaintiffs have been suing the makers of these products.
Has the justice system consolidated AFFF foam lawsuits into an AFFF firefighting foam MDL (multidistrict litigation)?
The justice system has consolidated injury lawsuits into AFFF firefighting foam MDL (multidistrict litigation). The specialized form of litigation allows claimants to join forces and pursue a common legal action against defendants, to streamline court proceedings and ultimately achieve a more equitable resolution.
The MDL involves thousands of claims and hundreds of AFFF manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors, who stand accused of failing to warn or protect workers from exposure to the chemicals known as PFAS.
In December 2022, the AFFF class action MDL judge stated the first bellwether would likely start in April 2023, which might lead to a global firefighting foam settlement mass settlement between the parties.
Establishing an MDL is a crucial step forward in the fight for justice for those affected by potential AFFF contamination.
Experienced Firefighting Foam Lawyers for You & Your Family
To file your AFFF foam lawsuit, you will need a firefighting foam attorney to help draft your claim and present the evidence. There are numerous stages of a product liability lawsuit. It can take several years of effort by your AFFF lawyers to get your financial compensation, assuming that you are successful in your AFFF lawsuit.
You may be able to seek compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses. In addition, if your loved one developed cancer and died after being exposed to firefighting foam, you may also be eligible to file an AFFF lawsuit.
Contact the personal injury lawyers at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, by calling (888) 424-5757 to learn more about your legal rights and how you can file an AFFF cancer lawsuit related to AFFF exposure.
Our law firm offers each prospective client a free consultation, and you owe us no out-of-pocket expenses for your AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit.
You can call our AFFF lawyers anytime or complete the contact form and provide us with your phone number or email address, and our firefighting foam lawyers will contact you.
Our firefighting foam cancer lawyers are only paid after we have engaged in an attorney-client relationship and if you successfully recover compensation for the harm you have suffered.