Firefighting Foam Lawsuit
Firefighters use more than just water to put out fires. Sometimes, they will use foam to deprive a fire of oxygen and suppress it. This reduces the amount of time and effort to extinguish the fire.
However, while aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) helps firefighters do their job, it puts their safety and that of everyone else in the surrounding area at risk. Cancer cases have been tied to exposure to this foam.
As a result, those exposed and their families have filed lawsuits against the makers of this product for the side effects that they have had to endure.
This can include firefighters and anyone else in the vicinity of where there was a fire.
AFFF Foam Cancer Lawyers
If you or a loved one have developed cancer as a result of exposure to toxic chemicals that polluted your environment through the use of AFFF, you can also file a firefighting foam lawsuit.
Contact the firefighting foam cancer attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers to learn how you or your family member may be eligible for financial compensation by filing a firefighter foam lawsuit.
The Chemical Composition of AFFF Firefighting Foam Presents a DangerThe main safety issue with firefighting foam comes from the use of a certain chemical called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
The problem with PFAS is that it simply does not go away. 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 a number of different places. For example, PFAS has been increasingly found in the water supplies of many cities and municipalities.
Firefighting Foams Know as 'Forever Chemicals'There is a good chance that PFAS is 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 in order to give PFAS its heat-resistant qualities. This is the way that firefighting foam is able to help firefighters put out fires.
Exposure to PFAS Increases the Risk of CancerThe problem is that these helpful qualities become dangerous when the chemicals build up in the bodies of the firefighters who are exposed to them or anyone in the general vicinity when AFFF has been used.
Here, the issue is that, even after the fire is put out, the effects of firefighting foams remain for many years. If foams were used on a fire, they still contaminate the soil and can even seep into the groundwater.
As a result, anyone in the area can be at risk from firefighting foams. You can live thousands of feet away from an extinguished fire and have a greater risk of getting sick for years.
The General Public Is Realizing the Danger of this Fire SuppressantEven though PFAS have been used for decades going back to the 1940s, the general public is only starting to get a sense of how dangerous these chemicals are.
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
- Breast cancer
- Liver cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Bladder Cancer
The PFAS Family Includes Thousands of ChemicalsAnother problem is that some types of PFAS chemicals are still available for use in the United States. PFAS is actually a family of over 4,000 chemicals like perfluoroalkyl, and some of them have been banned.
However, there are new forms of PFAS that are no safer than those that have been banned. What makes the danger even greater is that the damage and effects of the banned dangerous chemicals will remain with us for many years to come since PFAS does not go away quickly.
The potential universe of plaintiffs in these cases is broad.
If you were a firefighter, U S military member or Federal Aviation Administration worker and worked with an AFFF foam over a period of time, you are at risk of developing these types of cancer and may be eligible to recover compensation for your condition.
Environmental Contamination Caused by Firefighter FoamYou 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 U S military bases, you may have been exposed due to the numerous fires that are put out on the base.
The general public has every reason to be angry about illnesses tied to PFAS, especially those caused by the use of firefighting foam. Simply stated, the dangers of firefighting foam have been known for decades.
Nevertheless, generations of firefighters were forced out onto the job and made to use a product that everyone else besides them knew were dangerous.
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 full well of the dangers of firefighting foams all the way back in the 1970s that these products were possible carcinogens.
This means that generations of military firefighters, U.S. military personnel and their families were exposed to possible dangers.
Of course, it is difficult to sue the federal government for a tort, and it is virtually impossible for service members to do so. Nonetheless, exposed U S military members may be eligible to join an AFFF lawsuit.
Lawsuits Related to Fire Fighting FoamHowever, you can file a firefighter foam lawsuit against the maker of these AFFF products.
There is also evidence that they may have been aware of the health effects of PFAS chemicals all the way back in the 1960s.
Yet, these manufacturers continued to sell products such as firefighting foams that contained PFAS.
Currently, there are a number of different AFFF lawsuits that are tied to the use of firefighting foam.
First, there is Multi-District Litigation (MDL) that is in Federal District Court in South Carolina. The pending MDL is Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) Products Liability Litigation MDL No. 2873 before Judge Richard Mark Gergel.
An MDL is similar to a class action lawsuit, but the cases are heard individually for trial.
As of this writing, there are 753 open AFF firefighting foam lawsuits that are a part of this multi district litigation for AFFF exposure.
Many of the plaintiffs in these fire fighting lawsuits have alleged that their exposure to AFFF firefighting foam caused them to develop cancer.
Sample cancers include: prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, testicular cancer, breast cancer. Other pending cases allege blood cancer (leukemia, lymphoma).
Here are some of the defendants in the firefighter foam lawsuits that have already been filed:
- 3M Company
- Tyco Fire Products
- Buckeye Fire Protection Company
- E.I. DuPont Nemours
- The Chemours Company
- Dynax Corporation
As of this writing, the most recent development was a status conference on May 1, 2020 to update the court on the progress of discovery and to deal with issues.
Cities and Municipalities Filing AFFF Foam LawsuitsIn addition, there are other firefighting foam lawsuits being filed. For example, states and municipalities have now begun to file their own lawsuits against the makers of AFFF firefighting foam due to groundwater contamination which in turn destroys their drinking water supplies.
The City of Melbourne and its airport became one of the most recent plaintiffs filing lawsuits against firefighting foam makers for the environmental damage and the cleanup costs that they have been forced to bear.
The Michigan Attorney General has also filed a consumer protection lawsuit on behalf of consumers that were sold these dangerous products. Nearly three dozen companies are being accused of concealing the dangers of these products from the public.
More lawsuits are likely on the way as more cities and states realize the environmental mess they have been left with and the risks that their citizens face.
Frequently Asked Questions about AFFF Firefighting Foam Dangers
Is AFFF Foam Toxic?
There have been studies going back decades that have shown that AFFF firefighting foams were toxic and caused health issues and developed cancer. The worst part is that this has long been known even though these products were used for years after that.
Studies have shown that firefighters who were exposed to AFFF foam have higher levels of toxins in their bloodstream. We are still learning the impact of these health risks.
Now, AFFF foam is considered a hazardous material by OSHA because of its potential to 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 particular danger comes from the possible presence of two different PFOA and PFOS compounds. These are perfluorooctane acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).
These stay in the body for an indefinite period of time because they are not really chemically capable of going away. Instead, they only build up in the body over time.
What Percentage of Finished Foam Is Water?
While a large percentage of firefighting foam is water, this does not take away from the hazards that people face when exposed to the foam.
In fact, 94% of firefighting foam is made out of water, and it is mixed with 6% foam concentrate. The problem is that the foam concentrate contains hazardous substances that are not neutralized by the water.
Is Class A Foam Toxic?
Class A foam is not toxic in the sense that, if you ingest it you can die.
The foam is known to be an irritant for the eyes and skin, and this is why OSHA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) characterize it as a hazardous substance.
The real dangers of AFFF firefighting foam are in the long-term effects to people who have been exposed to it for a prolonged period of time.
Does Firefighting Foam Cause Cancer?
Possibly. As mentioned above, polyfluoroalkyl substance PFAS is known as the “forever chemical,” and it stays in the body. When there is a buildup, PFAS (polyfluoroalkyl substances)can be a possible carcinogen.
There have been cases of testicular, kidney, and bladder cancer that have been linked to firefighting foams. This is exactly why plaintiffs have been suing the makers of these products
AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawyers For You & Your FamilyIn order to file your firefighting foam lawsuit, you will need an attorney to help draft your claim and present the evidence.
There are numerous stages of a product liability lawsuit, and it can take several years of effort by your attorney in order to get your financial compensation assuming that you are successful in the case.
You may be able to seek compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses. If your loved one developed cancer and died after exposure to AFFF firefighting foam, you may be eligible to file a AFFF lawsuit as well.
Contact the attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC today to learn more about your legal rights and how you can file a firefighting foam lawsuit related to AFFF exposure.
We offer each prospective client a free consultation, and you owe us no out-of-pocket expenses for your AFFF foam cancer lawsuit.
You can call our office anytime or you can complete the contact form and provide us with your phone number or email address and our law firm will contact you.
Our law firm is only paid after we have engaged in an attorney client relationship and if you are successful in recovering compensation for the harm that you have suffered.