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Texas Firefighter Foam Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

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Collen Clark Published by Collen Clark

Texas firefighters are taking action with a foam lawsuit tied to cancer risks from AFFF exposure. This guide discusses key aspects of the Texas firefighter foam lawsuit, including evidence against foam manufacturers, eligibility for legal action, and potential compensation for health impacts.

If you’ve used AFFF in the line of duty, understanding these proceedings is crucial in determining your rights and potential next steps.

If you or a loved one has been affected by firefighting foam exposure, Schmidt & Clark, LLP is at your service. As a firm with a distinguished reputation in representing plaintiffs, our primary focus is to help you achieve the justice and compensation you rightfully deserve.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits

AFFF exposure has had such a profound effect on human health that it has triggered a nationwide surge of lawsuits, seeking redress for the victims. The central objective of these firefighting foam lawsuits is to make manufacturers answerable for not alerting consumers to the potential health hazards linked to their products.

The lawsuits allege that manufacturers, including 3M Company, DuPont, and Chemours Company, concealed the dangers of PFAS, the main ingredient in AFFF.

Among the plaintiffs in these AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit cases are military and commercial firefighters who used AFFF during training and real-world fire emergencies.

The foam, effective in extinguishing fuel fires, particularly at airports and military bases, is now linked to a host of health issues, including various forms of cancer. This shocking discovery has caused more fire departments to look for alternatives to AFFF, while the influx of lawsuits shows no signs of slowing.

Key Points from Lawsuits

AFFF lawsuits allege that manufacturers knew about the potential toxicity of PFAS chemicals, which are toxic, in AFFF products as early as the 1970s but chose to keep this information hidden.

Plaintiffs assert that manufacturers failed to provide adequate warnings about the health risks of their products and even suggested that alternative fire prevention measures might be more harmful than AFFF.

These incriminating allegations serve as the foundation of the legal actions taken against these manufacturers, which have been amalgamated into multi-district litigation (MDL) to expedite pretrial proceedings and unify the efforts of plaintiff attorneys.

What Is AFFF?

According to a 2022 study by the Division of Spill Prevention and Response, AFFF is known as Aqueous Film-Forming Foam, and it is a type of firefighting foam used to extinguish fires involving flammable liquids, such as jet fuel [1]. It’s been a staple in firefighting since the 1960s, particularly in military settings where jet fuel fires are common.

In Texas, film-forming foam AFFF has seen widespread use at military bases, airfields, and Navy vessels. Beyond the military, commercial airports and some industrial facilities across Texas have also relied on AFFF to fight fires. AFFF, despite being highly efficient in fighting fuel fires, contains PFAS chemicals.

These chemicals are notorious for their surfactant properties, but sadly, they also pose a potential threat to human health and the environment.

Who Are The Defendants In AFFF Lawsuits in Texas?

The defendants in AFFF lawsuits in Texas are giants in the manufacturing industry, including 3M Company, DuPont, and Chemours Company, among others. They stand accused of producing and selling toxic firefighting foams, leading to harmful exposure among users, predominantly firefighters.

In their defense, these manufacturers deny any causation and maintain that they issued sufficient warnings about the potential dangers of their products.

Additionally, they also suggest that alternative fire prevention measures might be more harmful than AFFF. Despite these defenses, the lawsuits allege that manufacturers were aware of the potential toxicity of PFAS chemicals in AFFF products as early as the 1970s.

The crux of these lawsuits lies in the alleged link between firefighting foam and cancer. Various studies have indicated that firefighters have a higher risk of being diagnosed with cancer compared to the general U.S. population.

According to the International Association of Fire Fighters study from 2023, the World Health Organization’s cancer research group has classified firefighting as “Group 1 – carcinogenic to humans” and identified an increased risk of several forms of cancer, including bladder, prostate, and testicular cancer, among firefighters [2].

Occupational exposure of firefighters to carcinogenic chemicals may increase their risk of developing different types of cancer – National Library of Medicine

The Department of Defense introduced AFFF in the 1970s to combat fuel fires, which resulted in PFAS contamination of groundwater in military bases. Firefighting foam containing PFAS toxic chemicals is no longer manufactured since 2015, but fire departments still have large stockpiles of AFFF, which continue to be used despite the associated health risks.

Does Firefighting Foam Contain PFAS?

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services research from 2021, AFFF firefighting foam does contain PFAS. These substances are more commonly referred to as PFAS. These “forever chemicals” have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide since the 1950s and are intentionally added to certain types of firefighting foams [3].

The presence of these firefighting foam chemicals in firefighting foam is a significant cause for concern due to their potential harm to humans and the environment. While some new firefighting foams are marketed as “fluorine-free” and do not contain intentionally added PFAS, the accuracy of these claims is not always verified.

Modern fluorinated foams typically contain little to no amounts of PFOA and PFOS but may still contain other PFAS compounds. Even foam products labeled as “PFAS-free” may still contain measurable concentrations of PFAS.

Common Injuries Linked To Firefighting Foam PFAS

Usage of AFFF has been associated with an elevated risk of various forms of cancer, including testicular, bladder, kidney cancer, thyroid, colorectal, and liver cancer.

Moreover, AFFF exposure has been associated with liver and kidney damage, immune system deficiencies, increased cholesterol levels, thyroid disease, and reproductive issues.

Beyond the carcinogenic effects, PFAS exposure has been linked to changes in the immune system, increased cholesterol levels, and thyroid disease. Furthermore, studies have also suggested that PFAS exposure may be associated with fertility issues, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and preeclampsia.

The wide range of potential health issues associated with PFAS exposure underscores the severity of the matter and the importance of seeking justice for affected individuals.

Who Qualifies for the AFFF Lawsuit in Texas?

Individuals diagnosed with certain types of cancers, including pancreatic cancer, after exposure to AFFF qualify for the AFFF lawsuit in Texas. Eligibility criteria include diagnoses of a range of cancers including:

Furthermore, an important criterion for eligibility is having been exposed to AFFF for a significant duration, typically at least one year.

Therefore, plaintiffs in these lawsuits often include:

  • Civilian and military firefighters
  • Fire trainees
  • Members of emergency response teams who have been subjected to harmful AFFF exposure

How Do AFFF Lawsuits Work?

AFFF lawsuits work by bringing forth allegations against manufacturers for exposure to toxic substances in AFFF firefighting foam, which has been associated with various cancers and medical conditions.

The legal process initiates with collecting evidence, which includes medical documentation and a detailed history of exposure. These cases are then consolidated into a multi-district litigation (MDL) to streamline pretrial proceedings and coordinate the efforts of plaintiff attorneys.

Attorneys in AFFF lawsuits must collect evidence, negotiate settlements, and represent the plaintiffs in court if necessary. As the MDL progresses, the potential for reaching settlements remains uncertain, with the first bellwether trial scheduled for April 2023, potentially setting precedents for future settlements.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits Settlement Amounts in Texas

Settlements form a significant part of the AFFF lawsuits, and the potential compensation for these lawsuits can be substantial. Texas firefighters affected by AFFF exposure can seek compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other financial burdens.

The compensation amounts consider the type and stage of cancer, the type of medical treatments required, and the impact on future earning capacity.

Projected settlements for the best-situated plaintiffs, particularly those with severe cancer cases, range from $200,000 to $500,000.

Secondary-tier plaintiffs, impacted by factors such as cancer type and stage and medical treatment requirements, have anticipated settlement amounts between $150,000 and $300,000.

Potential Compensation for Victims of Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuits in Texas

Victims of firefighting foam cancer lawsuits in Texas may be eligible for compensation, which can include:

In some cases, a wrongful death lawsuit may also be applicable. Compensation claims in firefighting foam lawsuits may cover various cancer types and other injuries associated with PFAS exposure from AFFF.

In addition to the monetary compensation, successful lawsuits also serve the purpose of holding manufacturers accountable for their actions. They highlight the need for transparency and responsibility in the production and marketing of products that could potentially cause harm to consumers and the environment.

Filing a Firefighter Foam Lawsuit in Texas

For those impacted by AFFF exposure and contemplating legal recourse, comprehending the procedure of filing a firefighter foam lawsuit in Texas is vital.

Evidence such as medical history, laboratory testing reports, and medical bills are collected to prove exposure to AFFF and quantify losses. Depending on the specifics of the case, AFFF lawsuits in Texas may become part of the consolidated multi-district litigation in the District of South Carolina, where cases are managed collectively to streamline the legal process.

Types of Evidence To Present

In filing an AFFF lawsuit, the types of evidence that need to be presented include medical records, laboratory testing reports, and medical bills.

These documents are crucial in establishing a link between AFFF exposure, the health conditions developed, and the financial impact these conditions have had on the individual.

Expert witnesses, such as toxicologists and epidemiologists, may also be brought in to provide professional insight and strengthen the case.

Texas Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for filing an AFFF lawsuit in Texas generally requires claims to be filed within 2-3 years from the date the injury was sustained or symptoms were first noticed.

However, the application of the discovery rule can allow a lawsuit to be filed beyond the standard statute of limitations if the plaintiff only became aware of the injury and its relation to AFFF exposure at a later date.

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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 Texas Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyers

Schmidt & Clark, LLP stands ready to assist during these pivotal moments. Should you or a loved one suffer from injuries linked to firefighting foam exposure, reach out to us without delay. Our skilled team excels in handling such cases, offering guidance at each step of your legal journey.

It’s crucial to comprehend your legal entitlements and determine your eligibility for a firefighting foam lawsuit. We provide complimentary consultations, and you incur no fees unless we secure a favorable verdict or settlement in your case.

For a comprehensive case review regarding firefighting foam, connect with Schmidt & Clark. Allow us to be your steadfast partner as you confront this complex ordeal.

Reference:

  1. https://dec.alaska.gov/spar/csp/pfas/firefighting-foam
  2. https://www.iaff.org/news/global-health-organization-links-fire-fighting-and-occupational-cancer/
  3. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/health-effects/index.html

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