Firefighting Foam Manufacturers Sued by Michigan Attorney General

October 15, 2020
Firefighting Foam Manufacturers Sued by Michigan Attorney General

Michigan Firefighting Foam Lawsuit Over Cancer-Causing PFAS

Firefighting foam has recently become the focus of significant legal action from not only many private individuals but from the Attorney General of the state of Michigan as well. Recently, Dana Nessel, Michigan's Attorney General, filed firefighting foam cancer lawsuits against dozens of companies that manufacture and distribute firefighting foams. These lawsuits come after numerous studies and reports show the link between firefighting foam and the development of cancer among the many people that are exposed to it either in its use or its lingering in the environment. Firefighting foam, or aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) as it is also known, is a widely used tool in the suppression of fires. Firefighters regularly use AFFF to smother flames and deprive them of oxygen but scientists and researchers uncovered a worrisome link between a particular type of ingredient it contains known as Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances also known as PFAS and a number of cancers.

The Michigan Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Against AFFF Manufacturers

It is true that firefighters handle a number of known and toxic chemicals. However, they do so with the full knowledge of those toxicities and the risks they take. This knowledge and transparency allow them to take appropriate precautions and wear protective safety gear to mitigate those risks. Manufacturers of firefighting foam or AFFF did not reveal the toxicity and dangers of their products to the public. As such, firefighters and other fire personnel did not get the chance to take precautions that could have saved their lives and prevented their cancer.

The Basis for the Michigan AFFF Cancer Lawsuits

The Michigan Attorney General filed firefighting foam cancer lawsuits not simply because fire fighting foam is a dangerous chemical. Instead, they have filed lawsuits against several AFFF manufacturers over their alleged intentional concealment of the dangers AFFF poses. They concealed these dangers while selling, distributing, releasing, transporting, supplying, arranging for disposal or treatment of, handling, and using the substance in a way they knew would contaminate natural resources in Michigan thus causing harm to the populace. The companies that have come under fire for their alleged negligent selling of fire fighting foam include major chemical manufacturers like Chemguard, National Foam, 3M, and Dupont. These companies sell billions of dollars worth of chemicals for uses ranging from construction to household cleaning. It is because of these companies that many firefighters in Michigan have developed cancer while using their firefighting foam and numerous bodies of water and groundwater sites in Michigan are now contaminated with lingering AFFF chemicals like PFAS.

The Hazardous Effects of Aqueous Film-Forming Foam

The aqueous film-forming foam used in firefighting has been linked to the increased risk of developing cancer thanks to a number of studies on the substance. The danger posed by AFFF is mostly due to PFAS. PFAS is an umbrella term for thousands of different synthetic chemicals used in products ranging from food packaging to polishes. Aside from the fact that they often exhibit harmful characteristics, PFAS are extremely resilient and take an incredibly long time to break down. This is one reason why they are called “forever chemicals.” They can persist in the environment for hundreds of years and build up in the tissues of animals and fish. They can also find their way into groundwater and drinking water. As PFAS build up in people's bodies, it can cause serious illnesses, as well as a variety of cancers.

Toxic PFOA and PFOS and Firefighting Foam Cancer

In the case of AFFF, there are two particularly hazardous PFAS known as perfluorooctane acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) that contribute to a high risk of developing cancer among those exposed to them. Studies conducted by the EPA and several independent agencies on lab specimens and animals have determined that these chemicals exhibit many carcinogenic qualities that hinder children's growth, cause damage to the liver, immune system, and reproductive system, as well as foster the development of the following cancers.
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Leukemia

What Michigan's Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Mean for Individuals Exposed to AFFF

The lawsuits filed by Michigan's Attorney General Dana Nessel signal an escalation in the growing concern over PFAS containing products such as firefighting foam. The state recognition of the hazards caused by firefighting foam and the corporate concealment of these hazards have lent much more credibility to individuals who have been exposed to this substance and now seek compensation for illnesses they suffered as a result. Firefighters, military personnel, airport workers, and people in similar occupations that deal with the threat of fires and have been chronically exposed to AFFF have a right to compensation when they have developed one of the aforementioned illnesses that ruin lives, families, and communities. AFFF manufacturing companies can be considered liable for the injuries they caused out of negligence and be held accountable through legal means.

Seek an Experienced Firefighting Foam Cancer Attorney

We rely on the producers of various chemical products to provide us with the proper safety information necessary to ensure that those using their product do so aware of any potential risks to their health. If you have developed cancer or another severe illness because of a company's product that contained dangerous ingredients you were unaware of, you may be able to seek compensation for damages you suffered by filing a product liability lawsuit. These damages include things such as medical expenses, lost earning capacity, and even pain and suffering. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has assisted those that have suffered at the hands of negligent companies for years by representing injured plaintiffs in product liability lawsuits. Do not hesitate to contact our Clearwater office about your case. Even though we have offices in Clearwater, we represent individuals suffering from firefighting foam cancer across the nation. We offer free consultations to those that have found themselves in this terrible situation. Our attorneys can assist you in building your case, calculating the damages you've suffered, negotiating settlements, and representing you at trial if need be. The lawyers of Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA will walk you through every step of the process and maintain close communication with you in regard to your case's progress. We provide the resources and experience of a larger law firm while also giving each case the personal touch and investment one would expect from a smaller firm. Call us for a free consultation today at (727) 451-6900 or fill out a contact form online. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 800 North Belcher Road Clearwater, FL 33765 (727) 451-6900  

Matthew Dolman

Clearwater Personal Injury and Insurance Attorney

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess or $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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