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Aqueous Film Forming Foam Lawsuit (2024 Update)

A type of firefighting foam called Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) is known to contain dangerous chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which have been linked to serious health risks including cancer.
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If you or a loved one was exposed to toxic chemicals in AFFF firefighting foam, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing an AFFF Lawsuit and our experienced firefighting foam lawyers can help. Please click the button below for a Free AFFF Foam Lawsuit Evaluation or call us toll-free 24 hrs/day by dialing (866) 588-0600 for AFFF Foam Lawsuit information.

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What is Aqueous Firefighting Foam (AFFF)?

According to the Division of Spill Prevention and Response, AFFF firefighting foam is a fire suppressant mostly used by firefighters, military firefighters, and commercial aircraft manufacturers including the Federal Aviation Administration at industrial sites to extinguish fuel fires [1].

AFFF has been widely used because it’s an effective solution for extinguishing extremely hazardous flammable liquid fires in oil refineries, offshore platforms, chemical plants, aviation operations, and military facilities.

Firefighter using a fire extinguisher

Toxic Chemicals in Aqueous Firefighting Foam (AFFF)

Aqueous firefighting foam contains perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid. These man-made chemicals, used in industry and consumer goods for over 60 years, can contaminate both soil and drinking water and have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies PFOA as a 2B carcinogen. This means it’s possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Stated the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)

As stated by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, the EPA refers to perfluorinated alkylated substances as ‘forever chemicals’ because the elemental bonds between fluorine and carbon are extremely strong, making them difficult to break down in the environment and our bodies [2].

This means that perfluorinated alkylated substances chemicals, when consumed by people, are emerging contaminants that stay in the body for a very long period, posing a serious risk to human health.

According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the agency has classified AFFF foam—one of the most well-documented types of perfluorinated alkylated substances chemicals—as a ‘possible human carcinogen’ based on epidemiological evidence linking heavy exposure to the firefighting foam with testicular and kidney cancer [3].

AFFF Firefighting Foam Health Problems

  • Kidney cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Thyroid disease
  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Neuroendocrine tumors
  • Prostate cancer
  • And more

AFFF Cancer High-Risk Occupations

Any firefighter may be at an increased risk of cancer if they’ve been exposed to AFFF. Airport firefighters may be at a higher risk of developing certain cancers due to more frequent exposure to the foam.

Firefighters Stationed at Airports

Until 2018, the Federal Airport Administration (FAA) required airports to use perfluorinated alkylated substances-containing firefighter foam following U.S. Navy guidelines, putting the health of airport firefighters at risk.

Related Article: Fire Safety and Prevention Tips

Military Firefighters

The U.S. Navy and other branches of the military have used firefighting foam since the 1960s, even during training exercises and non-critical missions. It was particularly favored by fire departments on military bases since it could extinguish jet fuel.

The military is currently phasing out the use of certain perfluorinated alkylated substances, while the Department of Defense (DOD) is looking into viable perfluorinated alkylated substances-free firefighting foam alternatives to curb groundwater contamination.

AFFF Firefighting Foam Statistics

Formulation of AFFF:

AFFF has been formulated in various types to address different fire hazards. For hydrocarbon-based Class B hazards, traditional AFFF was effective, but for polar solvent-based Class B hazards, alcohol-resistant AFFF (AR-AFFF) was developed. AR-AFFF includes special gum additives to create a membrane effective against polar solvents. These foams are often identified by their split-proportioning ratios, such as 1×3, 3×3, and 3×6, indicating the proportioning rate for hydrocarbon and polar solvent fires.

AFFF Performance and Efficiency:

AFFF is known for its efficiency with densities as low as 0.10 on type I and II discharge devices and 0.16 on standard sprinklers. It’s effective at low expansion ratios but stable enough for medium expansion ratios with specific discharge devices. AFFF’s strength is particularly notable in controlling and suppressing in-depth Class B hazards (fuel depth of at least 1 inch)​​.

Environmental Impact and Legislative Response:

The environmental hazard of AFFF, particularly due to the presence of PFOS and PFOA, led to legislative reactions. For instance, in 2018, Washington state banned the use of firefighting agents containing PFAS for training purposes and prohibited the sale of any foaming agent containing PFAS starting July 2020, with some exemptions. This set a precedent for several other states to enact similar bans and restrictions.

Regulations in Airport Operations: In the context of airport operations, AFFF must meet specific regulations. For instance, the FAA requires that AFFF meets the MIL-SPEC, MIL-F-24385, and must be either a 3-percent or 6-percent concentrate. The use of AFFF with a concentration of 1 percent is not recommended due to difficulties in consistently providing an accurate mixture. Additionally, PFOS-based AFFF has been banned in the United States and Canada​.

What are AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuits Alleging?

AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits are being filed alleging AFFF manufacturers knowingly sold AFFF firefighting foam and should be responsible for the harm to firefighters, military personnel, and others who were regularly exposed to perfluorinated alkylated substances contamination as a result.

Our attorneys are now offering to speak, free of charge, to firefighters (and family members acting on their behalf) who want to learn more about their rights from our firefighting foam attorneys. An AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit could provide compensation for medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, funeral expenses, and more.

Has a Class Action Lawsuit Been Filed?

3M, the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, is claimed to be responsible for the toxic exposure of firefighters and other workers at military bases that have employed the use of AFFF.

They, along with others like Chemguard, Tyco Fire Products, National Foam, and Buckeye Fire Equipment, are being sued for continuing to manufacture AFFF after being made aware of the danger exposure to their product posed. Claims from all over the country are currently being consolidated into a multi-district litigation (MDL) in the South Carolina Federal Court.

A person filling up a document

AFFF Foam Cancer Lawsuit FAQ

What are the side effects of AFFF exposure?
The aqueous firefighting foam contains carcinogens that may cause various types of cancer to those who are exposed to it. Additionally, less severe conditions may result from firefighting foam exposure.

How does AFFF affect people?
Studies have linked firefighting foam exposure to many forms of cancer, and it may also cause fetal / child development issues, in addition to many other problems.

What is AFFF?
AFFF stands for Aqueous Film Forming Foam, a substance used to fight high-temperature fires. For decades it contained toxic chemicals that could cause long-term health problems in humans as well as environmental risks.

Can AFFF harm the environment?
Toxic chemicals in AFFF foam, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), have been proven to increase the risk of cancer and other serious side effects. These substances have also been found to contaminate groundwater and soil in places where they were used to put out fires.

Does AFFF Cause Cancer?
Firefighters and military personnel use AFFF to fight chemical blazes. Studies have shown that 2 of the common compounds in AFFF are carcinogenic, or cancer-causing substances.

Who can file an AFFF lawsuit?
Exposure to AFFF has been associated with severe medical problems. People who have been exposed to it and were subsequently diagnosed with specific health complications may be eligible to file an AFFF lawsuit.

Who is responsible for AFFF exposure?
For over a half-century, AFFF manufacturers have added PFAS to AFFFs to lower surface tension, even though they were aware that repeated exposure to PFAS could cause cancer. The companies that produce AFFFs with cancer-causing substances may be responsible for your medical costs and other damages related to your injuries.

What compensation would be available if I was exposed to AFFF?
The compensation for injuries caused by firefighting foam exposure depends on a variety of factors. Plaintiffs who file an AFFF lawsuit may qualify to seek monetary damages for both economic and non-economic losses, but the exact figure will vary depending on the circumstances of your case.

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Have you or a loved one been injured or exposed to a toxic chemical at work or in the home that has caused a severe life-threatening side effect, illness, disease, or death?

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The Toxic Firefighting Foam Litigation Group at Schmidt & Clark, LLP law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in AFFF Foam Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and are currently accepting new AFFF Lawsuits in all 50 states.

If you or a loved one developed cancer due to fire-fighting foam exposure, you should contact our AFFF contamination law firm immediately. You may be entitled to financial compensation by filing an AFFF lawsuit and our AFFF lawyers can help.

References:

  1. https://dec.alaska.gov/spar/csp/pfas/firefighting-foam/
  2. https://www.pfas.des.nh.gov/firefighting-foam
  3. https://www.consumernotice.org/environmental/afff/

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