Firefighting Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) Cancer
Firefighters face a significant risk of developing firefighting foam cancer due to long-term exposure to toxic PFAS chemicals in the foam. Employees in other fire-control occupations, as well as communities, also face a higher risk of developing firefighting foam cancers related to their exposure to Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF). Specifically, AFFF has come under intense scrutiny for its ability to cause cancer, as well as a wide range of other illnesses and disorders. It has even prompted the military to begin removing AFFF from use. However, for many – it is too late.
You may have been exposed to this substance and are suspicious of its effects but how does this exposure affect people and what injuries might it cause? Which firefighting foam causes cancer? Is firefighting foam toxic?
At Dolman Law Group, we know you have questions related to your exposure to firefighting foam and cancer. We want to help answer those questions, so you can explore your legal options that may include filing a firefighting foam cancer lawsuit against negligent manufacturers.
What does AFFF stand for?
AFFF commonly known as firefighting foam stands for Firefighting Aqueous Film Forming Foam. It is used to coat the surfaces at the base of fires in order to starve a flame’s source of oxygen and fuel. It is especially effective at suppressing and putting out flammable liquid fires, known as Class B fires. Scientists invented AFFF for use in fighting oil fires.
What are the Firefighting Foam Cancer Risks?
Despite it being effective at fighting fires, regular exposure to this substance has resulted in the development of a number of severe illnesses, including serious and deadly cancers. This is due to something contained in fire fighting foams known as Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These harmful substances can be exposed to firefighters and similar at-risk people through absorption through the skin, inhalation, and in some cases, it can be ingested via contaminated water sources.
A carcinogen is any substance that causes carcinogenesis which is the formation of cancer. Carcinogens usually accomplish this either by damaging the nuclear material contained in a cell that is essential for cellular reproduction or by interfering with a cell’s metabolic processes.
So far, the PFAS chemicals PFOA and PFOS have been linked with a significantly high risk of developing cancer when people are exposed to them. Studies have found that firefighting foam and its PFAS chemicals exhibit the same harmful qualities as carcinogens that affect cell DNA, weaken the immune system, induce inflammation, cause cell proliferation, and affect communication between cells. Laboratory animals that have been exposed to PFAS have also been shown to develop cancers as well.
Types of Fire Fighting Foam Cancers
Manufacturers, producers, and the Department of Defense have known for decades that firefighting foam, specifically AFFF, is toxic. Studies and reports since the 1960s have linked a wide variety of cancers to long-term exposure to AFFF. Firefighters, airport workers, military personnel, and communities near military bases may have suffered exposure to AFFF and its deadly cancer-causing agents in drinking water, air particles, or through the skin. As a result, many have received serious cancer diagnoses, such as:
- Testicular Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Breast Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Colorectal Cancer
- Neuroendocrine Cancer
Other Health Issues Caused by Fire Fighting Foam Exposure
Cancer is not the only health issue that someone exposed to fire fighting foam containing PFOAS can expect to deal with. In addition to PFOS and PFOAS being linked to an increased risk of cancer, these substances have also been linked to the development of the following health issues.
- Weakened immune system
- Fertility issues and pregnancy-induced hypertension/preeclampsia
- Damage to the liver
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Increased risk of thyroid disease
- Birth defects
- Child developmental issues
- Increased risk of asthma
Who Is At Risk For Fire Fighting Foam Cancer?
Firefighters are the most at-risk group of people when it comes to fire fighting foam exposure and cancers. In 2015, a well-known study found nine fluorinated chemicals at high levels in firefighters exposed to AFFF, sometimes up to three times higher than those in the general population. This increases their risk of suffering serious firefighting foam cancers and medical conditions.
However, the affected groups do not stop there. Numerous occupations require their workers and employees to handle firefighting foam, either to put our fires directly or for training purposes. While many jobs will simply utilize sprinklers, certain military, industrial, aeronautic, and construction positions deal with the risk of fires fueled by substances that cannot be easily put out by water alone necessitating the use of fire fighting foam.
Communities and medical bases are also at high risk for developing firefighting foam cancers. This is because military bases and airports often use large amounts of AFFF for training purposes. This results in toxins leaching into the groundwater and surface water supplies. AFFF runoff contaminates well water, as well as public drinking water further exposing innocent communities to the toxic effects.
It should be noted that while all direct fire fighting foam exposure is potentially harmful, the risk of developing severe medical issues because of fire fighting foam exposure is not as high in isolated cases of exposure. Most people with a clear link between their cancer and fire fighting foam exposure have experienced exposure in the long term which led to the buildup of carcinogenic PFAS in their system.
Seek an Experienced Product Liability 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 and side effects you were unaware of, you may be able to seek compensation for damages you suffered by filing a product liability lawsuit.
Dolman Law Group has assisted those that have suffered at the hands of negligent companies for years by representing injured plaintiffs in product liability lawsuits. We represent firefighting foam victims and families nationwide. As such, do not hesitate to contact our Clearwater office about your case. 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 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.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765