Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyer

January 31, 2023 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

Were You Diagnosed With Cancer After Being Exposed to Firefighting Foam?

The manufacturers of Aqueous Film Forming Foam, known as AFFF and firefighting foam, used dangerous chemicals to make their foam since they introduced the product in the 1960s. This AFFF foam has led to numerous cases of firefighter foam cancers and other life-threatening illnesses. A firefighting foam lawsuit can help you claim the compensation you need – and deserve.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has long warned of the link between AFFF and cancer. In fact, the CDC is presently studying firefighting foam and the contamination of drinking water in numerous communities across the country.

What does this mean? This means that firefighting foam cancers are not just occurring in firefighters. You don't have to be a firefighter to have suffered adverse effects from the toxic chemicals in firefighting foam. Military members, construction workers, and residents located near military bases are all at risk.

What Is the Latest Update on AFFF Cancer Lawsuits?

The known health risks associated with AFFF are simply too great to ignore. The AFFF foam cancer lawsuit is presently subject to multidistrict litigation and all lawsuits throughout the United States are pending in Federal Court in South Carolina before Judge Richard Gergel. In other words, if you file an AFFF foam lawsuit your case will be consolidated in one single Federal Court in South Carolina with Judge Gergel presiding. As of June 15, there were 2,586 cases in the AFFF MDL.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer after being repeatedly exposed to firefighting foam, you should contact a firefighting foam cancer attorney from Dolman Law Group to see if you can receive compensation for:

  • Medical bills and expenses related to your cancer treatment,
  • Compensation for pain and suffering,
  • Lost wages or lost future earning capacity
  • Other related damages.

Dolman Law Group has a long and successful history of fighting for the injured and we can help you too. There is no fee unless we recover money for your case. Contact us today for a free consultation regarding your firefighting foam cancer lawsuit. We understand how multidistrict litigation works, how to determine the strength of your case, and how to weigh the options you have for seeking justice and compensation.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyers

Our Firefighting Foam Cancer Attorneys Fight for You

At Dolman Law Group, we always put our clients first and it shows. Although we are one of the largest law firms in the community, our clients get personalized attention and legal guidance from the moment they step into our office. We know the harm dangerous products can cause and we fight aggressively to ensure that our clients receive the help and compensation they need to rebuild their lives.

Firefighting foam is dangerous and responsible for numerous cancers, medical disorders, and illnesses. We believe that those who suffer injuries deserve a legal team on their side who can hold negligent manufacturers and companies accountable for the harm their products cause. We are here to protect your rights and represent your best interests throughout your legal case against the foam manufacturers.

If you or a loved one has been exposed to firefighting foam and later developed cancer, such as kidney, testicular, or pancreatic cancer, we can help. Our law firm is currently seeking to represent injured firefighters and families affected by firefighter foam in the multidistrict litigation pending. We will listen to your story and help you understand more about the legal rights available to you during this time.

We will help you file firefighting foam cancer lawsuits or AFFF cancer lawsuits and hold negligent and irresponsible manufacturers accountable for the harm they've caused. We have the resources to tackle large product liability and mass tort cases and win.

Call our firefighting foam cancer attorneys today at 727-451-6900 to explore all your legal options!

Firefighting Foam and Cancer: Understanding the Risk

The greatest risk for cancer is to those who have been exposed to firefighting foam for a long period of time or repeatedly over several years, especially without understanding the risk. This often applies to firefighters, military personnel, airport employees, and other workers exposed to AFFF throughout their careers.

What Is Firefighting Foam?

Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF), also known as firefighting foam, is used to extinguish liquid-based fires like those caused by gas or jet fuel. While lifesaving in many ways, it is potentially dangerous to the humans who use it to protect others from dangerous fires. AFFF is used solely for the purpose of fire suppression. 

These chemicals in firefighting foam may increase the risk of certain types of cancer or cause other non-cancer issues like birth defects, obesity, and diabetes. Firefighters, military members, airport personnel, and those who work in the oil or gas industry may be particularly at risk of AFFF-linked cancer.

Firefighting foam has been around and used frequently since the 1950s and 1960s. It currently comes in different varieties depending on the type of fire that must be extinguished. AFFF is the preferred fire suppression method for flammable liquid fires. Firefighting foam is dispensed through hoses by a firefighting team to cool the fire and to coat whatever is fueling the fire in order to prevent it from receiving further oxygen.

 The specific type of foam that carries a risk of causing cancer is per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) which are made up of man-made chemical compounds. PFAS are also found in consumer products like nonstick pans, polishes, waterproofing sprays, paints, and cleaning products.

There is no denying that firefighting foams play an important role in extinguishing fires but that also doesn't excuse those who have had a hand in making workers sick and potentially causing AFFF foam cancer fatalities. The risk of cancer from AFFF exposure should be well-warned and well-known to those who are exposed to it so that they can make an educated choice and take proper precautions.

Firefighting Foam Cancer and High-Risk Occupations

There are many occupations that increase the risk of exposure to firefighting foam and its deadly chemicals. Some of those include:

  • Commercial and voluntary firefighters
  • Military firefighters
  • Airport firefighters
  • Others who work at sites alongside firefighters, such as paramedics and rescue personnel
  • Individuals who live near a fire department, military base, or airport

Of course, firefighters are most commonly exposed to AFFF. Depending on the unit they work in and where they work, firefighters could be exposed routinely throughout their careers. Certain airport workers and military personnel are also commonly exposed to AFFF because of the need to fight fuel-based fires on the job. The final group most commonly exposed are oil and gas workers who might be exposed to the carcinogens when a fire breaks out at the workplace and firefighting foam is needed.

Keep in mind that individuals residing in properties within very close proximity to a fire department, airport, or military base may have been exposed as a result of water runoff. AFFF can contaminate a water supply.

Does Firefighting Foam Cause Cancer?

AFFF contains known carcinogens which are chemicals that increase the risk of people developing cancer or other related diseases. The specific PFAS that are known to be carcinogenic are Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) which are both found in firefighting foam.

When a person is exposed to PFAS routinely, their body absorbs the chemicals, and they build up over time. In fact, PFAS are known as the “the forever chemical” because of their long half-lives and their inability to break down. As the carcinogens accumulate inside the body, they increase a person's risk of certain cancers and illnesses, like:

  • Testicular cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Leukemia
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Neuroendocrine tumors
  • Other tumors and cancers

For decades, studies have shown that exposure to PFAS can cause cancer. However, despite the risk, manufacturers withheld information and warnings from those who used AFFF and those who received routine exposure to the foam. As a result, firefighters and other workers have been exposed to AFFF for years and years without understanding the potential risks.

Those pursuing claims against the firefighting foam manufacturers are not only alleging that the product is dangerous because of the possibility of carcinogen exposure but also that the product is defective because of the lack of clear warnings about the issue.

History of Firefighting Foam Cancer

Foam - Firefighting Foam Cancer Attorneys

1960s: AFFF began being commercially used in the 1960s by firefighters and at military bases to fight extremely hard to extinguish fires. By the end of the decade, studies began to find that exposure to PFAS chemicals could cause health issues in laboratory animals, including in their testicles, liver, adrenal glands, and other organs.

1970s: By the end of the 1970s, additional research studies were finding that the specific nature of PFAS meant that it could potentially stay in the blood of animals and humans for a long period of time. Despite these studies, manufacturers continued to market and sell firefighting foam without adequate warnings and precautions, and employers continued to allow its use.

1980s: In the 1980s, the Air Force conducted animal studies that revealed the dangers to both the environment, as well as health of individuals exposed to firefighting foam. In 1985, the Navy cited the toxic effects of AFFF in an internal report. In 1989, the Air Force even called for the better management of AFFF waste due to its toxic effects. Over the next 30 to 40 years, research continued to reveal exactly how PFAS in firefighting foam harmed humans and caused cancer, yet it was still allowed to be used.

1990s: In the 1990s, the Army believed AFFF to be so dangerous and toxic that they urged Fort Carson to stop using it. This same decade, Dupont, one of the manufacturers, was aware that its AFFF product, known as C8, caused testicular, pancreatic, and liver cancer in lab animals. However, they failed to notify and inform the EPA of this finding.

Early 2000s: In the early 2000s, additional research and testing found multiple side effects among firefighters and other workers exposed to PFAS. These studies revealed that exposure to firefighting foam increased the likelihood of cancer, changed human hormones, and impacted the thyroid and liver. It was also discovered that exposure to PFAS and PFOA was probably linked to incidents of kidney cancer, testicular cancer, and other types of cancer.

In 2004, a toxicology study revealed the increased risk of prostate cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia, and multiple myeloma in people exposed to toxic firefighting foam.

2010s: In 2012, scientists at Emory University found that workers exposed to C8 and AFFF in Dupont factories had a three-fold increased risk of contracting mesothelioma, an asbestos-related cancer affecting the lungs, and chronic kidney disease. They also had a two-fold increased risk of getting cancer, especially kidney cancer.

Recently, long-term exposure consequences have started to show their terrible repercussions. Retired firefighters and others who have spent a long time in an industry exposed to AFFF have begun to develop cancers or realize what caused their cancer. Today, thanks to science and other successful lawsuits, it is possible to hold those accountable for AFFF-caused cancer.

Some Firefighting Foam Lawsuits Are Pending

As of March 2022, there are more than 2,300 cases pending in MDL -2873 IN RE: Aqueous Film-Forming Foams Products Liability Litigation, according to the United States Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. In other words, over 2,300 affected firefighters and others developed cancer or other health concerns and believe AFFF played a role. Most of these lawsuits are part of what is known as a class action. A class action lawsuit in a case such as this involves many people harmed by the same product under similar circumstances filing a suit together as opposed to independently. One or a few plaintiffs file a lawsuit on behalf of a large group known as a "class" so that resources are pooled, the courts are not strained by a swarm of individual cases, and so strength in numbers can be used to the suit's advantage. 

As of April, 2022 Florida Attorney General, Ashley Moody filed a product liability lawsuit against several manufacturers of AFFF over the damage their product has caused in a number of Florida fire stations, airports, etc. Florida A.G. Moody is not alone, over a dozen other states have taken action against AFFF makers due to the harm their gross negligence has caused.

Suppose you or a loved one has a diagnosis that could be linked to your exposure to firefighting foam. In that case, you may have a strong enough case to join the multidistrict litigation, file a claim, or take other action to pursue justice and compensation. You are not alone. Dolman Law Group can help you better understand your case and the opportunities you have to hold foam manufacturers legally responsible.

Firefighters Are Most At-Risk of Cancer from Firefighting Foam

Because firefighters are exposed to firefighting foam most often, they also face the highest risk of getting cancer caused by AFFF. This outcome is especially true of firefighters who worked in houses, districts, or locations where they frequently had to fight fuel or other flammable liquid fires. It is unlikely a single exposure—or even a few—to firefighting foam would cause a significant health risk. However, repeated exposure may be a problem for firefighters.

Multiple studies have found that firefighters have an elevated level of PFAS in their blood when compared to the normal population. In an article published by the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the levels of PFAS in firefighters were found to be up to 3 times higher than that of the non-firefighter population. This is a problem since the higher level of PFAS, the more likely the person may be to develop related cancer.

Since PFAS do not leave the body easily, they commonly continue to build up as exposure to the chemical persists. One Australian study actually found that the amount of the carcinogen in a firefighter's blood was directly correlated to the number of years on the job

PFAS and PFOA Has a History of Cancer Risk

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), other government agencies, the military, and manufacturers of the chemical are well-aware of the dangers of PFAS, including those found in firefighting foam. Because of this, the EPA has stopped certain versions of the chemical from being manufactured in the US. Additionally, the EPA's PFOA Stewardship Program serves to eliminate these chemicals from emissions and products. This clearly shows that they know they are dangerous.

The military is also moving toward the use of firefighting foam that doesn't contain PFOA or PFAS. They even have their own program to remove the chemical from use. Again, this proves they know of the dangers of firefighting foams that contain carcinogens.

Companies that produce products with PFAS, like 3M, have known about the dangers for at least 20 years, yet continue to produce products containing similar types of chemicals. While firefighters, government agencies, and others fight to protect people from the dangers of these chemicals, the manufacturers continue to focus on making money over the health of first responders, their own workers, and those exposed to these foam products.

Who Is Liable for Firefighting Foam Cancer?

If you were diagnosed with cancer linked to the chemicals found in firefighting foam, the companies that manufactured the firefighting foam, those who sell it, and the employers that continued to expose you to it may be responsible in an AFFF lawsuit. Some firefighting foam manufacturers include but are not limited to:

  • 3M Company
  • DuPont
  • Chemours Company
  • Chemguard
  • Corteva, Inc.
  • Buckeye Fire Equipment Co.
  • Kidde-Fenwal
  • National Foam
  • Tyco Fire Products

Current and Past Firefighting Foam Lawsuit Allegations

According to allegations presented in past and existing firefighting foam lawsuits, manufacturers are accused of:

  • Failing to conduct comprehensive studies on the side effects of AFFF related to cancer;
  • Knew or should have known that PFAS in firefighting foam could build up in the human body;
  • Failed to warn those who they knew would foreseeably come into contact with AFFF;
  • Failed to design and market a safe firefighting foam to avoid unreasonable risk to those exposed to the chemicals;
  • Withheld information about the importance of protective gear to protect against foam risks;
  • Failed to issue firefighting foam recalls or safety warnings that would have helped others avoid cancer.

These claims are strong allegations against the manufacturers, but our attorneys believe there will be enough evidence in these cases to prove many or all of them in court. There is no way to know the outcome of the multidistrict litigation or an individual case this early in the process. However, we are hopeful that our clients will recover the compensation they need to pay for their treatment and care, as well as the money they deserve because these companies put them at an untold risk.

As mentioned before, the PFAS chemicals present in AFFF have been proven to be carcinogenic and dramatically increase the risk of cancer amongst those exposed to it. The variety of cancers that can ravage the body because of AFFF obviously inflict pain and suffering amongst the individuals with these illnesses but also families and even entire communities as well. The harm caused by this product is more complex than many people realize.

Product liability lawsuits seek to rectify this harm by seeking compensation for the losses caused by dangerous products such as firefighting foam. These losses are referred to as damages and can include many things not immediately apparent to most plaintiffs. The most obvious of damages caused by AFFF cancer and other illnesses tend to be economic. Medical bills and lost earning ability are the most common of these economic damages. On the other hand, there are non-economic damages that do not have a direct dollar value such as the physical pain inflicted by cancer through chemotherapy and the degradation of someone's condition, or the mental anguish experienced by those facing the ramifications of cancer on their lives and aspirations. Nonetheless, these damages as well deserve to be compensated in a product liability lawsuit. The following are some common damages claimed in product liability cases.

  • Medical bills
    • Lab Tests
    • Ambulance Rides
    • Surgeries
    • Hospital Stays 
    • Medication
    • Home Healthcare Services
    • Physical or Occupational Therapy
  • Lost Wages
  • Lost Earning Potential
    • Costs of Job Retraining
    • Missed Promotions
    • Inability to Continue Career
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Consortium
  • Physical Disfigurement/Scarring
  • Permanent Disability

Why Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer for a Firefighting Foam Lawsuit?

Filing a personal injury lawsuit over firefighting foam exposure-related illness is not something to take lightly. The process of seeking compensation for the damages you have suffered can involve numerous complications and barriers that can make your life even more difficult. In these firefighting foam lawsuits your time, significant compensation, and the accountability of those liable for your damages are at stake. Therefore, it is in your best interests to not hold back and instead do your due diligence to put your case in the best position for success.

This means hiring a personal injury lawyer that can offer you not just legal insight but a vested interest in your case. A personal injury lawyer brings a lot more to the table than just legal advice. They are a means to ensure that your rights are observed and that you stand a chance when litigating chemical companies responsible for harmful firefighting foam. These companies and other liable parties will not pull any punches when it comes to their defense so you should take measures of your own to build an effective case.

Personal injury lawyers can provide clients with a myriad of essential services and skills. Lawsuits against major chemical companies will require thorough investigation for evidence, connections to expert witnesses, negotiating skills, trial experience, and many other legal resources that an established personal injury lawyer can bring to the table.

Were You Diagnosed with Cancer After Firefighting Foam Exposure?

If you have been diagnosed with cancer and you are a firefighter, current or former member of the military, or any other type of worker who has spent years working with AFFF, you should speak to an experienced AFFF lawyer to discuss your rights and options. You may be eligible to file an AFFF cancer lawsuit. Our law firm will investigate your claim and exposure to this known carcinogen that poses a substantial risk to human health.

Dolman Law Group prides itself on holding negligent and irresponsible businesses liable for creating and promoting dangers to unsuspecting victims. For a free consultation regarding your eligibility to file a firefighting foam cancer lawsuit, call us at 866-416-1344 or contact us online. We also take cases for a contingency fee, so we won't require any upfront or out-of-pocket payments unless and until we procure financial recovery for you.

The Dolman Law Group works with local counsel in any jurisdiction outside Florida for the purpose of filing lawsuits in jurisdictions wherein we are not licensed. Thus, we will follow each State's ethical rules to ensure a local attorney is involved.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

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 successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $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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