Are you one of the many people who have been affected by AFFF contamination? If so, you should know that there is a way to seek justice for the harm caused by this hazardous substance. If you are worried about how your toxic exposure will affect your health and well-being, or if you want to know more about filing a lawsuit against the manufacturers of AFFF firefighter agents nationwide, continue reading this article.
Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) is a firefighting foam used to extinguish fires. It contains perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is toxic to humans. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified PFOA as a 2B carcinogen.
The chemical produced AFFF and has been linked to cancer, liver damage, and other severe health conditions. Firefighters constantly exposed to AFFF may experience health issues and file a lawsuit against manufacturers for compensation for the problems they have faced.
While AFFF has effectively controlled fires, it contains certain chemicals that harm the environment and human health. Here are some of the main concerns associated with AFFF:
- Environmental Contamination: AFFF contains per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of synthetic chemicals known for their persistence in the environment. PFAS compounds do not break down easily and can accumulate in soil, water bodies, and wildlife. This contamination can have long-lasting effects on ecosystems and potentially enter the food chain.
- Occupational Health Risks: Firefighters and other emergency responders who regularly use AFFF are at an increased risk of exposure to PFAS and other chemicals in the foam. Prolonged and repeated exposure to AFFF has been associated with various health problems, including hormonal disruptions, kidney damage, and an increased risk of certain cancers.
- Groundwater and Drinking Water Contamination: PFAS compounds can leach into the soil and migrate into groundwater sources. Once in the water supply, they can contaminate drinking water sources, posing a risk to human health. Exposure to PFAS has been associated with various health concerns, including developmental issues, liver damage, immune system disorders, and certain types of cancer.
- Air Pollution: During firefighting operations, AFFF can produce toxic fumes and particulate matter that firefighters and surrounding communities can inhale. These fumes may contain PFAS compounds and other hazardous chemicals, potentially causing respiratory problems and other health issues.
- Contamination of Protective Gear and Equipment: AFFF can adhere to firefighting gear, equipment, and vehicles, leading to long-term contamination. This can result in ongoing exposure to PFAS for firefighters and may contribute to spreading contamination to other areas.
- Disposal Challenges: Disposing of AFFF presents challenges due to the presence of PFAS compounds. Incineration and conventional wastewater treatment methods are often ineffective in completely breaking down these chemicals, leading to their release into the environment.
AFFF is a fluorocarbon-based fire retardant. It’s used in firefighting foam to extinguish aircraft fires and vehicle fires. AFFF has been around since the 1970s when it replaced Halon 1301 as an alternative due to its ozone depletion potential (ODP). However, it was soon discovered that AFFF also has significant adverse health effects on humans and the environment:
Many studies have proven the link between AFFF and several health issues. For instance, a study by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) conducted in 2017 showed the connection between PFAS, present in AFFF, and testicular cancer. According to the study, as many as 800 Air Force servicemen developed this cancer.
Likewise, many studies have also proven a direct relationship between AFFF and various cancers. This has led to many firefighters filing an AFFF lawsuit. The plaintiffs allege that manufacturers failed to warn them about the potential health effects. According to TorHoerman Law, there have been so many cases nationwide that all the lawsuits were consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL).
If facing health problems due to AFF exposure, you should also file a case. Hire an attorney and fight to get the proper settlement amount you deserve. The settlement amount can vary based on factors like the severity of your health condition, how long you have faced the problem, etc. However, lawyers say the AFFF lawsuit settlement amounts can range between $40,000 and $300,000.
Many companies have been held accountable in the AFFF lawsuits. Some familiar names include 3M, DuPont, Chemours, Tyco Fire Products, and Chemguard Inc. These manufacturers are fighting to reverse the claims, but due to many studies showing the link with numerous cancers, they are likely to settle the cases by compensating the victims.
There have been many instances in the past where due to PFAS exposure, manufacturers had to pay compensation. For example, DuPont paid $671 in settlement amounts in 2017 to dissolve the lawsuits associated with dumping PFAS into West Virginia waterways. Even 3M and Wolverine were ordered to pay $54 million for a PFAS class action.
The future holds a similar fate for manufacturers. According to an article from The Guardian, DuPont, Chemours, and Corteva have agreed to pay nearly $1.2 billion to settle liability claims in 2023. The claims were associated with water contamination due to PFAS dumping.
When looking for a lawyer, you want to ensure they have experience with your case.
- Look for a lawyer who has experience with AFFF lawsuits. You can search online or ask around to find out if anyone has used this type of attorney before and what their experience was like.
- Make sure your lawyer is licensed in your state. If not, it will be difficult for them to represent you effectively because they cannot appear in court on your behalf or file motions with the court on your behalf without being licensed as an attorney-at-law in that jurisdiction.
- Find out if there are any other cases similar to yours where the same law firm has represented other people affected by similar harm caused by chemicals such as PFOS or PFAS. This helps gain confidence when hiring them because they know several successful cases are already under their belt.
To be eligible for an AFFF lawsuit, you must have lived in a home or building contaminated with PFOS or PFOA. If you don’t know if your home has been contaminated, it is essential to find out before filing a lawsuit against a chemical manufacturer.
If you are a firefighter and were exposed to AFFF for a long term and then developed cancer, you can also file a lawsuit. Many lawyers still accept cases from firefighters and other victims exposed to AFFF or PFAS. For instance, in 2021, Attorney General Josh Stein filed four lawsuits against at least 14 AFFF manufacturers. These are a part of the investigations conducted by his office in relation to PFAS contamination in North Carolina.
When you’re ready to take action, it’s important that you have a lawyer on your side. AFFF lawsuits are complicated and involve a lot of technical information, so it’s best to let an experienced attorney handle the details for you.
An attorney can help you build a strong case against the manufacturer of AFFF chemicals and maximize the compensation awarded in your case. When selecting an attorney, look for someone with experience with similar cases, such as those involving chemical exposure or toxic substance injuries.
You should also consider asking friends and family members if they know anyone who has worked with lawyers. They may be able to recommend someone based on their experiences working with them!
We hope this article has helped you understand the complex issues surrounding AFFF contamination and some of the ways you can fight back. If you think you have been affected by these harmful chemicals, we encourage you to contact an experienced lawyer who can help guide you through filing suit against those responsible.