The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ruled out some propositions concerning exposure to aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs). However, lawmakers have yet to come forth with solid regulations to control the use and risks of these firefighting products.
Is the U.S. Government Trying to Lessen the Long-Term Effects of AFFFs?
The EPA came up with an Action Plan in 2019 to deal with the widespread risks of exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances—a critical element in AFFFs. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) highlights research showing that these elements (perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate) are carcinogenic when they accumulate in the human body.
AFFFs' harmful effects on people, animals, and environments only came to light in the 2000s, despite being in use for more than 50 years. In general, the EPA's strategy seems to concentrate more on the PFAs in the environment, such as groundwater and municipal water channels.
Manufacturers—Are they Helping or Hurting?
Manufacturers have also vowed to stop using the carcinogenic fluorine compounds to make firefighting foams, replacing them with safer alternatives. But batches produced in earlier years are still circulating throughout the market, posing a danger to high-risk individuals, such as firefighters.
If you or your loved one is battling cancer or other conditions due to prolonged AFFF exposure, you could sue the manufacturers for financial compensation.
Which States Have Banned AFFFs?
Some states have laid out regulations around AFFF use. So far,12 states have banned PFAs containing firefighting foam unless under controlled environments. These states are:
- West Virginia
- New Hampshire
What Other Regulations Have States Put into Dealing with AFFF Exposure?
Although there is still a stalemate between the federal government and state governments regarding regulations surrounding the use of PFA-containing firefighting foam, some states have made their own laws. For instance, Georgia has prohibited the use of AFFFs except for two exceptions:
- When an AFFF is necessary to put out an emergency fire
- When an AFFF is strictly for training purposes in an enclosed facility where the stakeholders can contain the chemicals to avoid leakage to adjacent environments
Other states like Virginia have prohibited AFFFs in training and testing but permitted their use in fighting real fires.
Have Branches or Administrations Done Anything Concerning AFFF Exposure?
Yes, authorities heading these operations have laid out requirements and regulations to prevent further exposure of their workers to PFAs-containing firefighting foam.
- The U.S. military can use only firefighting foam that has been tested in the Naval Research Laboratory and certified under the Department of Defense's Quality Products List (QPL).
- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) instructed airport firefighters and trainers to use only firefighting foam that meets the military specifications ruled out by the Department of Defense (DoD).
- The U.S. Fire Administration has also continually reviewed rules governing AFFF use in firefighting. Although fluorine-free AFFF has not yet promised the same ability as the fluorine-based one, further research is being conducted.
The EPA is working on labeling PFAs with AFFFs as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. If this bill becomes a law, AFFF manufacturers will have to clean up after their mess or pay for it.
What Information Will I Need to Prove My AFFF Lawsuit Is Valid?
Due to the complexity of an AFFF lawsuit, you may want to hire a firefighting foam cancer attorney to guide you through the process. The lawyer will help you gather evidence of your suffering brought on by AFFF exposure. This could include information like the following:
- Medical bills
- Your oncologist's notes
- Proof of your long-term encounter with AFFF
- Evidence of the damages resulting from your condition
How Can an Attorney Help My AFFF Lawsuit?
While no law makes it mandatory to have a lawyer when filing an AFFF lawsuit, you could benefit from one fighting for your recovery. This lawsuit is relatively new, and there aren't many resources and information to help you tackle the case on your own.
An attorney has resources, experience with other toxic substances lawsuits, and an established relationship with the court system. Our attorneys use their experience to assess your case, identify the liable party, and prove your pain and suffering, among other damages.
An attorney can also negotiate a reasonable settlement on your behalf. We will also be there to make sure the insurance company doesn't take advantage of you.
How Long does an AFFF Lawsuit Take to Settle?
There is no set timeline taken to settle an AFFF lawsuit. Each case is unique, and the time it takes to receive compensation depends on various factors, including:
- The time it takes to investigate your case and affirm its validity
- If the liable party settles the claim out of court or in court
- How fast you accept the liable party's offer
Call Dolman Law Group Today for a Free AFFF Consultation
If you are seeking a personal injury lawyer to help you file an AFFF lawsuit, Dolman Law Group can help. We will review your situation and advise you on whether we can pursue compensation for you. Contact us today to learn how a firefighting cancer lawyer may be able to help you during a free case evaluation.