Were you diagnosed with cancer after being exposed to firefighting foam?
Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF), which is used to extinguish liquid-based fires like those caused by gas or jet fuel, can potentially be dangerous to humans. AFFF is used solely for the purpose of fire suppression. These chemicals in fire fighting 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 to AFFF-caused cancer.
If you have been diagnosed with cancer after being repeatedly exposed to firefighting foam, you should contact a Firefighting Foam Cancer Attorney to see if you may be entitled to receive compensation for:
- medical bills and expenses related to your cancer treatment,
- compensation for pain and suffering,
- lost wages or lost future earning capacity,
- and other related damages.
The known health risks associated with AFFF is 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.
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 the contamination of drinking water by fire fighting foam.
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.
Understanding the Risk Between Firefighting Foam and Cancer
The greatest risk for cancer caused by firefighting foam is to those who have been exposed for a long period of time, 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?
Firefighting foam 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 fire fighting 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-represented and known to those who are exposed to it so that they can make an educated choice and take proper precautions.
Who is Most Commonly Exposed to Firefighting Foam?
- commercial and voluntary firefighters
- military firefighters
- airport firefighters
- individuals who live near a fire department, military base, or airport
Of course, firefighters are most commonly exposed to AFFF. Depending on the type of unit they work in and where they work, firefighters could potentially 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 which 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.
Firefighting Foam Contains Carcinogens
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
- Other Tumors and Cancers
For decades, studies have shown that exposure to PFAS can cause cancer. However, despite the risk; information and warnings have been withheld. As a result, firefighters and other workers have been exposed to AFFF for years and years without understanding the potential risks.
History of AFFF as a Carcinogen
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 had already begun to find that exposure to PFAS chemicals could cause health issues in laboratory animals, including in their testicles, liver, adrenal glands, and other organs.
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.
Over the next 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Who is Liable for Firefighting Foam-related 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
- Chemours Company
- Corteva, Inc.
- Buckeye Fire Equipment Co.
- 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;
- and Failed to issue firefighting foam recalls or safety warnings that would have helped others avoid cancer.
Were You Diagnosed with Cancer After Being Exposed to Firefighting Foam?
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 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 (727) 451-6900 or contact us online.