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Arizona Firefighter Foam Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

The ‘Arizona firefighter foam lawsuit’ raises pressing questions about AFFF exposure and associated cancer risks. If you’re seeking clarity on the legal stance, potential compensation, and how to file a claim in Arizona, this article provides essential guidance.

Should you or a loved one have experienced harm due to exposure to firefighting foam, the team at Schmidt & Clark, LLP, stands ready to lend a hand. Known for our proficiency in advocating for plaintiffs, our primary commitment is to ensure you receive the justice and rightful compensation you are entitled to.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits

Firefighters, particularly those in military and civilian units, have relied on AFFF for many years. It’s used extensively to suppress fuel fires, thanks to its unique ability to form a protective layer over the burning fuel, starving the fire of oxygen. But while AFFF might be effective at fighting fires, it’s also been linked to an increased risk of cancer among firefighters.

Studies have found that firefighters have higher levels of PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), the toxic chemicals in AFFF, in their blood than the general population, according to this 2023 study by the National Center for Biotechnology and Information [1].

Known for their degradation resistance, these ‘forever chemicals’ can persist in both the environment and the human body, causing continuous exposure and health risks.

Due to the severe health effects associated with PFAS exposure, many firefighters diagnosed with various types of cancer have taken legal action against AFFF manufacturers.

Key Points from Lawsuits

AFFF lawsuits, also known as firefighting foam lawsuits, highlight several key points. One of the major allegations is against the manufacturers of firefighting foam for their failure to warn users about the health risks associated with PFAS exposure.

These lawsuits argue that manufacturers, including major players like DuPont and 3M, were aware of the potential adverse health outcomes linked to PFAS yet failed to provide adequate warnings.

This alleged negligence has resulted in serious health issues for firefighters and military personnel, with many developing cancer after prolonged exposure to the toxic chemicals in AFFF.

These lawsuits aren’t isolated incidents. They’re part of a larger, nationwide legal action against AF manufacturers, with cases lodged in South Carolina Federal Court and other jurisdictions across the U.S.

The AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit aims to hold manufacturers accountable for their alleged negligence and seek compensation for the victims. Plaintiffs in these AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits include not just firefighters but also individuals who developed cancer following exposure to contaminated water near military bases, where AFFF was frequently used.

What Is AFFF?

AFFF is a type of firefighting foam widely used by firefighters, particularly in scenarios involving fuel fires; it is also known as aqueous film-forming foam [2].

The foam forms a layer over the fuel, effectively cutting off the oxygen supply and suppressing the fire. However, it’s the composition of AFFF that has become a cause for concern.

AFFF contains PFAS chemicals, which are known for their resistance to degradation. This means that once PFAS chemicals are released into the environment, they persist for a long time, potentially leading to prolonged exposure.

In 2023, the Department of Defense even issued a new specification for firefighting foams used on military bases, requiring them to effectively extinguish fires without containing PFAS. Despite these developments, many firefighters have already been exposed to PFAS through their use of AFFF in the past.

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in Arizona?

The defendants in AFFF lawsuits in Arizona include major manufacturers like DuPont and 3M. These companies are facing legal action for their alleged negligence and failure to provide sufficient warnings about the dangers of PFAS in their products.

In addition to DuPont and 3M, other companies named as defendants in Arizona AFFF lawsuits include:

  • Armstrong World Industries
  • Babcock & Wilcox
  • Combustion Engineering
  • Fibreboard Corporation
  • Buckeye Fire Equipment Company
  • National Foam, Inc.
  • Chemguard, Inc.
  • Kidde-Fenwal, Inc.

AFFF contains PFAS chemicals such as perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which have been linked to increased cancer risk, according to a 2023 study by the Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics [3].

PFAS chemicals in AFFF are absorbed through inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact and bioaccumulate in the body, meaning they build up over time.

This long-term exposure can result in a harmful accumulation in the body, potentially leading to various negative health effects, including:

  • Cancer
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Thyroid disease
  • Reproductive and developmental issues

It is important to be aware of these potential health risks associated with AFFF and take necessary precautions.

Firefighters, particularly those at airports and military bases, have been identified as occupations with an increased risk of cancer due to their AFFF exposure. This is a grave concern, given the severe health effects linked to chronic PFAS exposure.

The U.S. Fire Administration acknowledges that long-term exposure to PFAS from AFFF can result in a harmful accumulation in the body, possibly leading to various negative health effects.

It is crucial for firefighters and other individuals who may be exposed to AFFF to take necessary precautions to minimize their exposure and protect their health.

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

Firefighting foam does contain PFAS. These long-chain PFAS chemicals, like PFOS and PFOA, are known for their resistance to degradation, and they are the main culprits behind the harmful health effects associated with AFFF exposure. Even newer versions of AFFF, which manufacturers claim are safer, contain short-chain PFAS that still pose health risks.

The settlement amounts for AFFF lawsuits in Arizona vary widely. Recent settlements have included a $10.3 billion agreement with 3M for water contamination by PFAS and a $4 billion settlement with DuPont and related entities, among other substantial payouts.- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

PFAS chemicals have been used in AFFF for fighting liquid fuel fires since the 1970s. Their resistance to degradation means that once they are released into the environment, they persist for a long time, potentially leading to prolonged exposure. In response to concerns over their harmful effects, efforts are underway to develop fluorine-free foams.

In fact, in January 2023, the Department of Defense issued a new specification for firefighting foams used on military bases, requiring them to effectively extinguish fires without containing PFAS.

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFAS

The PFAS present in AFFF can cause a variety of health problems. Exposure to PFAS has been linked to several types of cancer, including childhood leukemia, kidney cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and thyroid cancer.

Firefighters, due to their frequent contact with AFFF, have a heightened risk of developing thyroid, kidney, bladder, testicular, prostate, and colon cancers.

It’s not just cancer; PFAS exposure can also lead to other health issues. High concentrations and long-term exposure to PFAS in firefighting foam are associated with an increased risk of:

PFAS can be ingested orally, absorbed through the skin, or inhaled, leading to their accumulation in the human body.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in Arizona?

Individuals who have been diagnosed with certain types of cancer, including pancreatic cancer, and have a history of AFFF exposure qualify for the AFFF lawsuit in Arizona.

It’s not just firefighters who are eligible to file a firefighting foam lawsuit. While firefighters, both military and civilian, are at a higher risk due to their exposure to toxic firefighting foams, other individuals also qualify for the lawsuit.

If you belong to any of the following categories, consulting with firefighting foam attorneys could be beneficial:

  • Airport workers
  • Military personnel
  • Industrial workers
  • Chemical plant workers
  • Employees of firefighting foam manufacturers
  • Transporters of AFFF
  • Those involved in the incineration or disposal of the substance

Even residents living near sites where AFFF has been frequently used and whose groundwater may be contaminated with PFAS may also qualify for the lawsuit, provided they can prove exposure and have been diagnosed with related illnesses.

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits work by involving plaintiffs seeking compensation from manufacturers for their alleged negligence and failure to warn about the dangers of PFAS in AFFF products.

These lawsuits argue that the manufacturers had a duty of care to consumers, which includes providing sufficient warnings about the risks of PFAS.

However, they allegedly breached this duty by failing to adequately inform users about the potential health risks associated with PFAS exposure, despite evidence suggesting they were aware of the risks posed by these chemicals.

As a result, many firefighters developed cancer after prolonged exposure to the toxic chemicals in AFFF, leading to these lawsuits.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in Arizona

The settlement amounts for AFFF lawsuits in Arizona vary widely. Recent settlements have included a $10.3 billion agreement with 3M for water contamination by PFAS and a $4 billion settlement with DuPont and related entities, among other substantial payouts.

Currently, the pending case count in the AFFF class action Multi-District Litigation (MDL) stands at 6,715, reflecting a significant escalation with 351 new cases over the past month. The outcome and settlements in AFFF litigation are influenced by several factors, including:

  • The degree of PFAS exposure
  • The varying health consequences, including the severity of cancer
  • The medical costs incurred
  • The legal mechanisms in place for seeking punitive damages

Average settlement predictions for high-severity cases range from $300,000 to $600,000, while moderate cases may see amounts from $150,000 to $280,000.

Potential Compensation for Victims of Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits in Arizona

Victims of AFFF exposure who file lawsuits are seeking compensation, justice, and means to prevent future harm. AFFF plaintiffs may claim compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering due to health issues like cancer linked to PFAS chemical exposure.

By filing lawsuits, plaintiffs argue that if manufacturers had provided adequate warnings about PFAS, users of AFFF foam could have taken precautionary measures to mitigate their exposure and consequent health risks.

Filing an Arizona Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

To file an AFFF lawsuit in Arizona, eligible plaintiffs must meet specific criteria. This includes individuals diagnosed with certain types of cancer and a history of AFFF exposure, as discussed earlier.

Defendants in Arizona AFFF lawsuits may face significant legal ramifications and be prompted to reevaluate how chemical hazards like PFAS are communicated to the public if the failure to warn of allegations is proven.

It’s also important to be aware of the state’s statute of limitations for toxic exposure cases. The statute of limitations for filing an AFFF lawsuit in Arizona varies, with claimants typically having a limited number of years from the cancer diagnosis or discovery of PFAS contamination to initiate legal proceedings.

Types of Evidence To Present

To file an AFFF lawsuit successfully, individuals need to present certain types of evidence. This includes documented medical records to substantiate a plaintiff’s diagnosis of cancer or other health conditions attributed to PFAS exposure.

Additionally, compiling evidence of work history is an essential step in proving exposure to PFAS chemicals. This is particularly critical for firefighters, especially for those assigned to airports or military bases.

Proof of work history and AFFF exposure for firefighters can include training records, incident reports, and military service records where they apply.

Arizona Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for filing an AFFF lawsuit in Arizona is typically two years from the date of injury or when the injury could have reasonably been discovered. This timeframe may vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case, subject to the state’s statute of limitations for toxic exposure cases.

For latent diseases, such as those possibly caused by AFFF exposure, Arizona law allows the statute of limitations to start from the date of diagnosis rather than from the date of exposure. This is an important factor to consider when planning to file an AFFF lawsuit in Arizona.

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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?

Get Your Free Consultation From Arizona Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyers

The legal team at Schmidt & Clark, LLP is ready to stand by your side during these challenging times. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to exposure to firefighting foam, get in touch with us immediately. Our team is well-versed in handling such cases and is committed to guiding you every step of the way.

It’s crucial to know your legal rights and determine your eligibility for a firefighting foam lawsuit. We offer free consultations, and we only charge a fee if we successfully win your case.

Reach out to Schmidt & Clark today for a comprehensive review of your firefighting foam-related case. Allow us to be your trusted partner in navigating this difficult situation.

Reference:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10698640/
  2. https://maine.gov/mema/sites/maine.gov.mema/files/inline-files/ITRC%20AFFF%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf
  3. https://dceg.cancer.gov/research/what-we-study/pfas

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