Is AFFF Foam Banned?

January 1, 2024
Is AFFF Foam Banned?

Due to its highly toxic nature, several states have passed laws prohibiting the use of PFAs containing foams like Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF), also known as firefighting foam. Fortunately, the legislative governments of the remaining states are also considering banning AFFF and recommending the use of other fluoride-free foams for firefighting purposes.

Additionally, the PFAS Action Act of 2021, a bill currently in Congress, seeks to list PFAs as dangerous chemicals under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA). If this bill passes, the use of AFFF foam will officially be illegal in the United States.

AFFF's Safety Concerns

Even though AFFF foam is highly effective in suppressing petroleum-based fires, it contains dangerous chemicals like PFAS. These chemicals can lead to various cancers and diseases after exposure. Here is a list of other possible ailments after exposure to AFFF foam:

  • Thyroid disease
  • Asthma
  • Fertility issues
  • Child development problems
  • Fetal damage
  • Liver disease
  • Low birth weight
  • Cholesterol increase

While first-hand use of AFFF foams exposes you to immediate risk, there are other indirect ways to suffer the consequences of exposure. When firefighters use this chemical at work, some of the fumes can contaminate nearby air or groundwater, leading to exposure. Areas surrounding AFFF manufacturing or storage facilities are also at risk for soil contamination.

Another safety concern of the use of AFFF is that the chemical is not bio-degradable. After it leaks into the groundwater or contaminates the soil, it could take several decades to completely clean the toxic chemicals. 

What Are the Main Considerations When Replacing AFFF Foam?

Several industries, including the military, aviation, and chemical manufacturing, benefit from AFFF as a firefighting tool. Other factors need to be considered to make sure any replacement foam is equally as effective:

Environmental Impact and Performance

The primary objective of AFFF should always be to extinguish fires effectively. Additionally, replacement foam should pose minimal environmental and health risks to become a more viable option than AFFF.

Compatibility and Ease of Use

Because most industries using AFFF already have systems in place, the replacing foam must be compatible with the available firefighting equipment. It will also need to be easy to use for firefighting personnel so that they will not require extensive training before they can use it.

Fluorine-Free Option

Part of the reason AFFF is highly toxic is fluorine's presence in its chemical composition which is not biodegradable. For a firefighting foam to be a viable replacement for AFFF, it has to be fluoride-free while offering similar advantages.

What to Do After AFFF Exposure

As earlier mentioned, exposure to AFFF can lead to severe ailments. Here are the steps to take in case of AFFF exposure.

Clean Up

  1. The first step to take after an AFFF exposure emergency is to contain the source
  2. Quickly but carefully remove your clothes or safety equipment gear and put it aside
  3. Take a shower to clean any residue foam off your body
  4. Thoroughly clean the clothes or safety equipment gear you were wearing

Seek Medical Attention

It is critical to seek medical attention after AFFF exposure, no matter how minor you think the risks may be. Remember that you can't accurately tell your level of exposure without a doctor. If you realize the exposure was extensive or ailments surface later, you may not have sufficient grounds to seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you've had AFF exposure that poses any health risks to you, contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. AFFF exposure can lead to health issues like cancer, thyroid, and kidney diseases. If you are diagnosed with any of these health issues or require long-term medical care, you will be dealing with hefty medical bills from specialized treatment and therapy. You may also lose your income or even the capacity to work.

How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help in an AFFF Exposure Case

Even though you can represent yourself in a personal injury claim, including an AFFF exposure case, it is critical to consider the state of your health and your knowledge of the necessary legal procedures in an AFFF personal injury case.

Dealing with frequent medical visits, medical expenses, and lengthy compensation negotiations can be overwhelming. A personal injury lawyer can relieve you of these burdens by taking over all legal matters of your case.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney

To pursue a personal injury claim after AFFF exposure, contact the Dolman Law Group for the best legal guidance. Do not hesitate to reach out and schedule a free consultation today.