Does Aqueous Film Forming Foam Cause Cancer?

April 15, 2022
Does Aqueous Film Forming Foam Cause Cancer? Frequent exposure to aqueous film forming foam, commonly known as AFFF, is dangerous. It contains two highly toxic chemical groups, perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Firefighters and other fire-control occupations use uniforms stuffed with AFFF, thereby increasing their chances of developing various kinds of cancer over the years. The duration of exposure and the amount of PFOA and PFOS also increase your chances of getting cancer. AFFF takes a while to break down, so you might not feel the effects for years. This doesn't make it any less threatening, as the effect on your health is still as dangerous and can be highly life-threatening.

What Is AFFF?

Standing for Aqueous Film Forming Foam, AFFF is a substance used to starve flames of fuel and oxygen. It is used to line various clothes, such as firefighting uniforms, which is why firefighters can walk into burning buildings and come out without a burn. However, this puts them at a high risk of developing cancer. Some of the people who are frequently exposed to AFFF are:
  • Military firefighters
  • Those living near a military, fire, or airport base
  • Volunteer or commercial firefighters
  • Airport firefighters
The two groups of polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), PFOA and PFOS, are a significant part of the AFFF manufacturing process. These are artificial compounds that are linked to causing cancers.

Does AFFF Cause Cancer?

Regular exposure to AFFF has resulted in the development of serious cancers and other severe illnesses. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that "suggestive evidence" links the PFAs found in AFFF materials to cancer. Some of the types of cancer linked to AFFF include:
  • Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Prostate and testicular cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Pancreatic and bladder cancer
  • Neuroendocrine tumors.
The harmful PFAs affect their victims in multiple ways, including through inhalation, through the skin, or ingestion. Ingestion occurs mainly in people living close to areas where the chemicals leach into the ground and contaminates the water system.

What Are the Other Risks of AFFF Exposure?

Aside from causing cancer, AFFF and the other chemicals cause cell proliferation, induce inflammation, and weaken the immune system. Prolonged exposure to these chemicals can be deadly to the victims and result in lifelong pain. The chemicals are also linked to causing damage to the liver, pregnancy-induced preeclampsia, congenital disabilities, and an increased risk of asthma. Some claim that it also causes child developmental issues and increased cholesterol levels. Studies show that PFAs settle mainly on the kidney, liver, and blood and don't disappear even as time passes. This means you may not see any of these developing illnesses until too late. You can, however, still fight for your rights when you discover you have any AFFF-related conditions.

What Can You Do After Getting an AFFF-Related Cancer Diagnosis?

Discovering that you got cancer from AFFF exposure, especially in your line of work, can be painful. You might be confused as to what your next step should be. Some of the measures to take after getting the diagnosis include:

Get a Lawyer

A personal injury attorney can help you find the best doctor, even if you cannot afford it for now. Your foremost concern should be your health, and you need to have a comprehensive care plan to help you deal with the situation. Your cancer might have progressed too much, and you might need aggressive treatment to deal with it. Some of the measures you might need to take include:
  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Palliative care
  • Chemotherapy
Your doctor will help find the best course of treatment to deal with cancer. Working with a doctor also gets you medical documentation showing that you got treatment, making it easier to recover compensation after filing a personal injury claim.

Contact Your Health Insurer

If you have health insurance, you need to reach out to your provider and inform them of your diagnosis. This alerts them to your situation and helps you get their approval for any procedures or treatment you might require. You can also ask the insurer about the benefits and what plans you can make for your treatment.

Notify Your Employer

Share the information about your diagnosis and treatment plan with your employer, especially if your AFFF exposure comes from your work. You should inform them regardless as the treatment can impact your ability to work, which can affect your income. Notifying them on time helps them make the necessary adjustments to suit your developing situation.

Get a Personal Injury Lawyer to Help You File for Compensation

If you fear that you or your loved one has AFFF-related cancer or is at high risk of developing it, the lawyers at Dolman Law Group are here to help. Aside from getting you medical help, our attorneys will also ensure you file relevant lawsuits and get the proper compensation. They will help you establish the party responsible for the AFFF and your injuries. Our lawyers put your best interests first and will go all the way to ensure you get the compensation that covers all your needs. Call us now to get started on your AFFF insurance claims.