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Holding Companies Accountable for Toxic AFFF Exposure
At The Ferraro Law Firm, our nationally-recognized attorneys have helped to secure millions of dollars for victims of toxic chemical exposure. Now, our firm has joined with Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, another national litigation firm, in a major PFAS contamination lawsuit on behalf of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission.
Filed on May 5th, 2020, the lawsuit names over twenty companies that have been involved in the manufacturing process for AFFF, claiming that these foams contain toxic polyfluoroalkyl substances (or PFAS) which have contaminated the groundwater at and around the Martha’s Vineyard Airport. This complaint was filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, as part of the multi-district litigation (MDL) on AFFF contamination.
The Ferraro Law Firm and Napoli Shkolnik PLLC are both actively involved in the historic MDL, which covers dozens of AFFF lawsuits from around the country.
What Are the Dangers of PFAS Contamination?
Used by firefighters and the U.S. military to suppress fires for over half a century, aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) often contain PFAS. In recent years, many studies have established the link between PFAS and a range of serious diseases, from cancer to liver damage to thyroid disease. Because PFAS are both water-soluble and bio-accumulative, these chemicals are easily dispersed through the air and groundwater after AFFF is used in training or to stop a fire from spreading.
Back in November 2018, tests of the drinking water wells around Martha’s Vineyard Airport revealed dangerously high levels of PFAS that far exceeded the guidelines set by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP.) To protect public safety, the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission has installed over 40 point-of-entry treatment systems, provided bottled water to affected residents, and tested up to 200 additional wells in the area; measures which are estimated to take decades and cost Martha’s Vineyard Airport tens of millions.
By holding the AFFF manufacturing companies accountable for the groundwater contamination at Martha’s Vineyard Airport, The Ferraro Law Firm hopes to secure a fair financial recovery for the airport’s losses – and to set a strong legal precedent for future consumers and municipalities affected by PFAS contamination. We are also accepting new cases on behalf of airports, water providers, and city governments that may have been similarly affected by PFAS contamination in the surrounding groundwater.
Frequently Asked Questions: AFFFs
Is AFFF a carcinogen?
While AFFF itself is not classified as a carcinogen, fire-fighting foam does contain several known carcinogenic compounds, meaning that it has been shown to cause cancer in humans. This is because many AFFF types contain PFOS and PFOA, which are both highly toxic. According to a study performed by researchers at UC Berkeley and Harvard, these chemicals in aqueous film-forming foams have been linked to a wide range of cancers, particularly cancer of the kidneys, bladder, and testicles. AFFF exposure can also result in endocrine disruption and other serious complications.
Is AFFF foam toxic?
Yes, aqueous film-forming foams are considered to be toxic, especially if they contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFA) substances like PFOS and PFOA. Aside from posing a serious cancer risk with long-term exposure, PFA chemicals can accumulate and remain stored inside the body for long periods of time. As toxic buildup increases, you may be in danger of developing thyroid disease and other life-threatening illnesses. In addition to AFFF, PFAs can be found in commercial waxes, paints, and household products.
What chemicals are in AFFF foam?
While stable aqueous foams are effective at stopping fire, it takes many complex chemical interactions to create this type of fire retardant. Most notably, AFFF includes PFAs, but it also includes fluoro- and hydrocarbon surfactants, water, and air. When combined, these chemicals create an expansive foam that cools and suppresses fire at the source.
What is AFFF used for?
Originally developed in the 1980s to fight wildfires, AFFF is now used by most firefighters in the United States to stop the spread and re-ignition of fires. It is also used to contain fire hazards in various industrial settings.
If you have questions about your rights, you should not hesitate to discuss your case with our legal team.