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Pennsylvania Firefighter Foam Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

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Collen Clark Published by Collen Clark

Pennsylvania firefighters are taking legal action against AFFF foam manufacturers because of cancer risks from exposure to PFAS chemicals. These lawsuits, representing personal and environmental concerns, are shaping a pivotal moment for affected firefighters in Pennsylvania.

This article covers details of the latest verdicts and their implications for justice and compensation in the Pennsylvania firefighter foam lawsuit.

If you or a loved one have been adversely affected by exposure to firefighting foam, the legal experts at Schmidt & Clark, LLP, are at your service. With an established track record in championing the rights of plaintiffs, our principal commitment is to secure the justice and rightful financial restitution you are entitled to.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits

Firefighters the brave souls who charge into blazing structures, risking their lives to save others, But what happens when the very tools they use to fight fires turn out to be silent killers? This is the grim reality faced by many in Pennsylvania, where AFFF firefighting foam cancer lawsuits have surged in recent years.

The crux of the toxic firefighting foam lawsuit, specifically the AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit, is that manufacturers knew about the health risks associated with PFAS but continued to sell the foam regardless.

This negligence has exposed countless firefighters to dangerous chemicals, leading to an increased risk of cancer and environmental contamination.

Key Points from Lawsuits

Upon examining the AFFF lawsuits, specific recurring themes come to light. The lawsuits predominantly involve individual firefighters’ cancer cases and local municipalities seeking compensation for water supply contamination.

These claims are a stark reminder of the broad reach of this issue, affecting not just those in the line of duty but entire communities as well.

Individuals affected by PFAS contamination, such as firefighters, emergency responders, and military personnel, are pursuing legal action to seek compensation.

They argue that AFFF manufacturers knowingly produced and sold products containing harmful PFAS chemicals, despite being fully aware of the associated health risks.

What Is AFFF?

According to the Division of Spill Prevention and Response, AFFF is also known as Aqueous Film Forming Foam, and it is a firefighting foam used to combat fuel fires, particularly at airports and military bases. It works by forming a blanket over the fuel, cutting off the oxygen supply, and smothering the fire [1].

However, this film-forming foam AFFF, which is pivotal in saving lives, harbors a lethal secret- it’s impregnated with toxic PFAS chemicals. These substances, dubbed ‘forever chemicals,’ are notorious for their longevity in the environment and the human body.

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in Pennsylvania

The defendants in AFFF lawsuits in Pennsylvania are major entities within the industry, including the 3M Company, DuPont, BASF, Kidde, and an array of other chemical and safety equipment manufacturers.

These companies face allegations of failing to adequately warn about the cancer risks from products containing toxic chemicals such as Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).

These companies are accused of failing to warn users about the cancer risks associated with the product, which contains toxic chemicals such as Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).

As claimed by the National Cancer Institute, the connection between firefighting foam and cancer is a serious cause for concern. PFAS exposure in firefighters has been linked to cancer and other health effects, such as increased cholesterol levels and immune system effects [2]. These chemicals have been used in firefighting foam, among other products, for over 70 years.

Firefighters, especially those who regularly use AFFF, may have higher exposures to PFAS than other groups. This exposure has been linked to more than a dozen different types of cancer, including:

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

According to the ATSDR Organization, firefighting foam does contain PFAS. AFFF, a type of firefighting foam, is known to contain PFAS chemicals, which are linked to various cancers [3]. While the use of PFAS in AFFF is being phased out, it is still used in many parts of the U.S. and around the world.

This persistence of PFAS in firefighting foams is a cause for concern due to their known health risks and environmental persistence. The phased-out process is gradual, and in the meantime, firefighters and communities remain at risk of exposure.

Possible sources of occupational exposure to PFAS include turnout gear, aqueous film-forming foam, and air and dust at both the fire scene and fire station – Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry 

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFAS

Studies indicate that PFAS exposure in firefighters is linked to metabolic syndrome, which can include a cluster of conditions such as increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels.

Firefighters, especially airport and military firefighters, who have higher concentrations of PFAS in their blood may be at an increased risk of developing cancers such as testicular and prostate cancer.

Elevated levels of PFOA, a type of PFAS chemical, in the blood, are associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer and higher overall prostate cancer mortality levels.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in Pennsylvania?

Individuals such as firefighters or servicemembers who have utilized AFFF foam and have been diagnosed with various types of cancer, including bladder, breast, kidney, prostate, testicular, thyroid, and others, may qualify for the AFFF lawsuit in Pennsylvania.

To qualify as a plaintiff, it is necessary to demonstrate extended exposure to firefighting foam and to have received a diagnosis of a qualifying type of cancer.

Unlike class action lawsuits, AFFF lawsuits in Pennsylvania are consolidated in an MDL (multi-district litigation), allowing each plaintiff’s compensation to be individually determined based on their case specifics, including the extent of exposure and the severity of diagnosis.

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits work by assembling a team of dedicated attorneys with specialized knowledge in product liability and toxic exposure cases. These legal professionals guide clients through the complex process, which includes:

  • Determining client eligibility based on exposure and medical diagnosis
  • Gathering and analyzing evidence, such as medical records and employment history
  • Filing the lawsuit against the manufacturers of AFFF foam
  • Engaging in settlement discussions to obtain fair compensation for the client
  • Representing the client in court should the case go to trial

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in Pennsylvania

The firefighting foam cancer lawsuits have resulted in substantial settlements, some of which have amounted to billions of dollars. Major manufacturers like 3M and DuPont have found themselves at the center of these legal battles, having to pay huge sums to settle drinking water contamination claims and PFAS contamination lawsuits.

As of January 2024, the AFFF firefighting foam class action MDL has seen an increase of 88 new cases, bringing the total pending cases to 6,715, with 279 new cases added later that month, raising the total number of pending cases to 6,994. This shows the growing number of individuals seeking justice for the harm caused by PFAS exposure.

While individual settlement amounts can vary, the predicted average settlement amounts for top-tier AFFF firefighting foam cases range from $300,000 to $600,000, demonstrating the potential compensation outcomes for individuals. With a case management conference scheduled for March 1, 2024, there is optimism about settlement prospects for the AFFF lawsuits within the year.

Recent settlements have been negotiated, such as 3M Co.’s agreement to settle with public water systems for at least $10.5 billion, while the total count of pending Pennsylvania AFFF cancer lawsuit cases has reached 6,994 as of January 2024.

The AFFF Multi-District Litigation (MDL) involves a series of bellwether trials, the first of which is the municipal water contamination case of the City of Stuart v. 3M Co., set to begin on June 5, 2023.

Potential Compensation for Victims of Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania residents exposed to AFFF may be eligible for compensatory damages, typically encompassing medical costs and pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages when compelling evidence demonstrates a defendant deliberately ignored known hazards.

Firefighters, emergency responders, and military personnel in Pennsylvania diagnosed with cancers and illnesses associated with AFFF exposure are seeking compensation through lawsuits.

The amount of compensation in firefighting foam settlements can be influenced by factors like:

  • The extent of AFFF exposure
  • Severity of injuries
  • Cost of medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Specifics of pain and suffering

Filing a Pennsylvania Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit

Initiating an AFFF lawsuit in Pennsylvania involves more than just completing a form. It requires presenting evidence, adhering to the statute of limitations, and seeking legal representation. This is where the expertise of an experienced AFFF attorney is invaluable.

Types of Evidence To Present

In the context of an AFFF lawsuit, evidence holds paramount importance. It is the core of any legal claim and can make or break a case. Personal testimony and witness testimonies that corroborate the plaintiff’s claims of exposure and subsequent health issues are key pieces of evidence in AFFF lawsuits.

Employment records showing a history of working in environments with AFFF use can serve as evidence in AFFF lawsuits. Medical records and diagnoses are critical pieces of evidence that document the health conditions linked to AFFF exposure.

Statute of Limitations in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, the countdown commences once the injury is discovered or should have been detected.

The statute of limitations for personal injury claims, which include AFFF lawsuits, is generally two years from the date the injury was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.

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See all related toxic tort lawsuits our attorneys covered so far.

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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 Pennsylvania Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyers

The legal team at Schmidt & Clark, LLP stands ready to assist during these pivotal moments. Should you or a loved one suffer from injuries or have developed cancer due to firefighting foam exposure, we encourage you to reach out. 

It’s crucial to comprehend your legal options and determine your qualification for a firefighting foam lawsuit. We offer free initial consultations, and our commitment to you is strong—we don’t charge any fees unless we secure a victory for your case. 

Get in touch with Schmidt & Clark now for a comprehensive review of your firefighting foam-related case. Allow us to be your steadfast partner as you confront this formidable challenge.

Reference:

  1. https://dec.alaska.gov/spar/csp/pfas/firefighting-foam/
  2. https://dceg.cancer.gov/research/what-we-study/pfas
  3. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/health-effects/index.html

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