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Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), often referred to as “firefighting foam,” is a substance that has long been used to extinguish petroleum or oil-based fires. Many members of the military, firefighters, and airport workers have been exposed to AFFF for years or even decades—and since 2016, the EPA, CDC, and American Cancer Society have each issued warnings to consumers about the connection between AFFF and certain types of cancers.
Those who have been exposed to AFFF and later developed cancer may be entitled to a cash settlement from the main manufacturers of AFFF—3M and DuPont. Currently, there are thousands of AFFF lawsuits pending, many of which were recently consolidated into a multi-district federal lawsuit. Who should file an AFFF lawsuit, and what should you know before pursuing legal action?
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What is AFFF?
Aqueous film forming foam is a type of firefighting foam that is designed to extinguish fuel-based fires—those that don’t respond well to water or water-based firefighting foams. AFFF contains chemical substances known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals, which don’t biodegrade and may build up in the body over time. PFAS chemicals have been linked to various types of cancer.
The AFFF Lawsuit
After the connection between AFFF and cancer was made clear, many of those who had long-term AFFF exposure and later developed cancer sued 3M, DuPont, and other firefighting foam manufacturers in state and federal courts. These firefighting foam cancer lawsuits alleged that the manufacturers had been well aware for decades that AFFF posed a risk to those who used it, but failed to warn consumers and businesses about the risks or instruct them to take appropriate precautions when working with AFFF.
The federal lawsuits have been consolidated into a single multi-district litigation (MDL).
Generally, plaintiffs receiving settlement amounts from the AFFF settlement will include:
- Those who were exposed to fire-fighting foam over a period of decades
- Those whose cancer or other illness diagnosis prevented them from working or caused them to accrue significant medical bills
- Those who have a serious and tough-to-treat type of cancer like
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Prostate cancer
Occupations That Have Been Exposed to AFFF
Anyone who has been exposed to AFFF for an extended period is at a higher risk than others of developing PFAS-associated cancers. However, there are certain occupations that are at a heightened cancer risk of AFFF exposure. These include:
- Military Personnel (both current and former members)
- Those who worked on a military base as a contractor
- Civilian firefighters and Military firefighters
- Airport workers
- Chemical industry workers
- Oil rig and petroleum processing workers
Though the term “firefighting foam” is often used interchangeably with AFFF, the military actually has the broadest exposure to AFFF. Those who served in the Middle East are especially likely to have been exposed to AFFF. Additionally, anyone working on offshore platforms or around industrial sites that had petroleum-based fires could have been exposed to the chemicals in firefighting foam.
How the Ferraro Law Firm Can Help
The Ferraro Law Firm has a national reputation for handling toxic tort lawsuits, including AFFF lawsuits. The lawyers at The Ferraro Law Firm are here to help you navigate this evolving lawsuit, providing you with the guidance and direction you need to ensure your case is handled professionally. To schedule your free consultation, please complete the form and one of our experienced attorneys will quickly be in touch.
Frequently Asked Questions: AFFFs
Is AFFF Toxic?
AFFF isn’t toxic in and of itself; that is, someone who has been exposed to AFFF once isn’t going to immediately notice its effects. However, the PFOS and PFAS in AFFF are carcinogenic with long-term exposure.
What Are the Health Effects of PFAS?
In addition to increasing the risk of breast, kidney, pancreatic, prostate, and ovarian cancers, PFAS can lead to a higher risk of blood and circulatory system cancers like leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. PFAS may also increase the risk of liver conditions like cirrhosis; because the liver’s main function is to filter waste from the system, it tends to accumulate PFAS at a higher rate than other organs.
Are PFAS Still Used?
Some types of PFAS have been phased out due to human health risks. However, there are still many PFAS that are used in a variety of consumer products, from plastic food containers to nonstick pots and pans.
What Should You Do if Your AFFF Exposure Caused Illness?
At The Ferraro Law Firm, we have a national reputation for handling toxic tort lawsuits like the AFFF lawsuit. Our attorneys are here to help you navigate these complex procedures and give you the guidance you need to make sure your case is timely and professionally handled. To schedule your free consultation with a member of our legal team, please complete the simple form on our contact page and one of our attorneys will be in touch shortly.