Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) is used by firefighters and military personnel to extinguish fires. The perfluoroalkyl (PFOA) and poly-fluoroalkyl components (PFAS) of AFFF cut off the fire's oxygen supply, causing it to extinguish faster. Prolonged exposure to firefighting chemicals increases your risk of developing severe and life-threatening conditions like cancer. Recent research and studies have linked the PFAS and PFOA components of the aqueous film-forming form to these illnesses.
Product manufacturers are responsible for manufacturing safe products and warning consumers of potential risks. However, Tyco, 3M, and DuPont, who manufacture AFFF, ignored the risk presented by AFFF components. For this reason, individuals diagnosed with various forms of cancer after chemical exposure file lawsuits against the companies for compensation.
Filing a successful lawsuit will help you recover compensation for the damages associated with exposure to these dangerous chemicals. Pursuing a civil lawsuit against large companies like TYCO and DuPont could be complicated. Therefore, you must hire and retain a skilled lawyer to guide you. For more information on AFFF and connections to expert legal teams for your claim, we invite you to contact us at Consumer Alert Now.
What Is Aqueous Film-Forming Foam?
Firefighting foam, commonly known as aqueous film-forming foam, is a fire suppressant used when water alone is insufficient to extinguish the fire. The product has been used for over fifty years by civilian and military firefighters. The effectiveness of AFFF in extinguishing the raging fire is its ability to cut off the oxygen supply to the fire, causing it to go off after a short while.
AFFF is used for firefighting in:
- Aviation operations.
- Municipal and fire departments.
- Chemical plants.
- Storage facilities for flammable liquids.
- Military facilities.
- Oil tanker transportation and storage facilities.
- Highway emergency response.
Although firefighting foam offers many benefits for firefighters, the chemical is linked to severe health conditions. AFFF contains toxic chemicals that could infiltrate the water and soil, causing lasting effects on individuals exposed to them. Prolonged exposure to AFFF has been linked to severe conditions, including cancer.
The poly-fluoroalkyl chemicals in AFFF are considered dangerous to people constantly exposed to firefighting foam. Individuals with a greater risk of developing cancer after exposure to firefighting foam include military service members who work close to where the foam is used, airport workers, and emergency responders.
Firefighters and military members could be exposed to the firefighting foam through skin contact, breathing, or oral injection. For these individuals, exposure to the harmful substances in AFFF could be challenging to evade since they are on the front lines of fighting the fires.
Although military members and firefighters have the highest risk of developing side effects from Aqueous Film-Forming Foam exposure, other people could be exposed to the chemicals by drinking contaminated water around where the firefighting foam is applied.
Illnesses Linked to Aqueous Film-Forming Foam Exposure
Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid and perfluorooctanoic acid are the two compounds of firefighting foam known for causing adverse effects on individuals working with the chemical. This is because of their slow breakdown into the environment and the human body. With prolonged exposure to AFFF, these chemicals accumulate in the body and cause the following illnesses:
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that causes swelling of the airways. Blockage of the airways causes the production of excessive mucus, making it difficult for a person to breathe. Asthma is triggered by airborne allergens, cold air, and sometimes exposure to toxins that affect your body's function.
Exposure to firefighting foam could cause asthma in individuals with constant contact with the fumes. Asthma is characterized by shortness of breath and trouble sleeping. These symptoms can significantly impact your life. You can be compensated for the effects of asthma if your condition is related to AFFF exposure.
Ulcerative colitis is a medical condition that causes permanent colon and rectum inflammation. The condition is caused by various factors, including autoimmune diseases and environmental factors like exposure to polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances found in firefighting foam. These toxic chemicals induce a dysfunctional intestinal barrier that interferes with the digestive system's acid metabolism.
You may have ulcerative colitis if you experience the following symptoms:
- Abdominal cramps.
- Urgency to defecate.
- Unintentional weight loss.
- Rectal bleeding.
- Blood in the stool.
This condition prevents the thyroid glands from releasing the hormones required for normal body function. Thyroid hormones are critical in fertility, fetal development, and cardiovascular function. Therefore, low hormone production can cause a wide range of health issues. Besides medical conditions and compromised immunity, exposure to toxic substances is a common cause of thyroid disease.
Due to the increased exposure to AFFF, which has been found to contain dangerous components, firefighters are at a higher risk of developing thyroid disease than men in other professions.
PFAS and PFOA have been associated with prostate cancer, one of the men's most common forms of cancer. Prostate cancer is the abnormal growth of cells in the prostate gland responsible for producing seminal fluid. Harmful chemicals in AFFF damage the cell DNA, impacting its normal function and causing them to multiply uncontrollably.
Prostate cancer develops slowly and may not be detected for a while. However, you may experience the following symptoms as the condition progresses:
- Blood in urine and seminal fluid.
- Bone pain.
- Unintended weight loss.
- Discomfort around the pelvic area.
- Changes in bowel habits.
If you are a firefighter, airport worker, or military personnel diagnosed with prostate cancer after prolonged exposure to firefighting foam, you can sue the chemical manufacturers for the illness.
Leukemia is a form of cancer that affects the blood cells. As the 10th most common type of cancer in the United States, leukemia affects up to 186,000 people annually. Exposure to toxic substances like PFAS is the most common cause of leukemia. Over time, accumulating these chemicals in the body causes changes in the bone marrow cells, which could result in cancer. Studies have shown that the risk of leukemia in firefighters increases with exposure to AFFF.
Although liver cancer is a common consequence of tobacco smoking, obesity, and alcohol consumption, the condition can be caused by PFAS exposure from firefighting foam. After prolonged exposure, the PFAS chemicals accumulate in your blood, which could disrupt metabolism and cause fat to accumulate in the liver. The risk of developing liver cancer for individuals exposed to the firefighting form is up to 30% higher.
You may be diagnosed with liver cancer when you report the following symptoms:
- Abdominal swelling.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Skin yellowing.
- Fatigue and general body weakness.
- Extreme weight loss.
Firefighters and military personnel exposed to firefighting foam have a high risk of developing bladder cancer. Recent studies have shown that exposure to PFAS and PFOA components of AFFF causes a change in the cells of the bladder tissues. Common symptoms associated with bladder cancer include:
- Pain caused by ureteral obstruction.
- Bone pain.
- Swelling of the feet.
- Extreme fatigue.
- Loss of appetite.
- Lower back pain.
- Difficulty passing urine.
If exposure to AFFF is a suspected risk factor for your bladder cancer diagnosis, you will need expert legal guidance to pursue a claim.
Filing a lawsuit against AFFF Manufacturers
The illnesses and conditions caused by exposure to PFAS and PFOA can take a toll on your life. Cancer is one of the most serious health conditions that could even result in death. The conditions will require extensive treatment, which can financially drain you and your family. Many victims of AFFF exposure are coming forward to seek compensation for the damages caused by exposure to toxic chemicals.
In 2022, multidistrict litigation with up to 6,000 individuals was filed against AFFF manufacturers. The lawsuits filed for this chemical allege that the manufacturers knew of the toxicity associated with the product and continued manufacturing and distributing it. Additionally, the manufacturers failed to warn the firefighting foam users of the chemicals' potential side effects.
The companies that have been named in the AFFF lawsuit include:
- Dynax Corporation.
- Du Pont De Nemours, Inc.
- Amerex Corporation.
- Carrier Global Corporation.
- Chemours Company.
- Clariant Corp.
- 3M Company.
- AGC Chemicals Americans, Inc.
- National Foam, Inc.
If you are military personnel, a firefighter, or an individual with reasonable exposure to AFFF, you can file a lawsuit against the chemical manufacturers.
Joining a Mass Tort for Aqueous Film-Forming Foam
A mass tort is formed by multiple plaintiffs filing lawsuits against a common defendant. Manufacturers of AFFF can be held liable for your injuries due to their negligence during the manufacturing of this dangerous product. You can recover compensation from them by filing a lawsuit. Instead of pursuing compensation independently, you could join a mass tort.
Mass torts often become multidistrict litigations, which gain popularity and are handled in the same court. A win in the mass tort means that all plaintiffs will be compensated for the harm caused by AFFF and its components.
Before you join a mass tort, you must ensure that you meet the following eligibility criteria. This means that you should have been reasonably exposed to PFAS and PFOA, and the exposure caused your illness. The process of filing a mass tort for AFFF will take the following steps:
The first step in filing a successful mass tort is establishing uniformity in the claims. This helps ensure similarity in the damages caused to the victims who wish to be part of the mass tort. Although each plaintiff in a mass tort has an individual claim, the lawyers will build a common case with a similar outcome.
Before filing the mass tort, a legal team must perform extensive research to support the claim and increase the chances of compensation. In this case, the lawyers will focus on the following:
- Looking for individuals with similar illnesses and injuries to join the mass tort.
- Identify the organizations and companies that caused your damage.
- Gather medical records that help demonstrate the healthcare expenses you incurred.
- Collect evidence from studies that could back your claim.
- Week with expert witnesses who can support the claims that exposure to AFFF resulted in your illness.
Due to the different situations of different plaintiffs, mass tort investigations may take a while.
Filing the Claim
After developing a solid understanding of the legal situation, a claim will be filed. The attorneys handling the mass tort will then negotiate with the insurance companies and representatives of the at-fault parties in your claim. If a settlement cannot be reached with out-of-court negotiations, the mass tort will end up in court.
Bellwether trials may be held before the actual trial for your lawsuit to determine the court's reaction to the claims. Defendants in a mass tort may be advised by their attorneys to fight against the claims, which could dispute your claim and reduce your chances of compensation.
Benefits of Joining a Mass Tort for AFFF
You may be entitled to compensation if you have been diagnosed with cancer due to exposure to aqueous film-forming foam. This is because the manufacturers of the substance ignored the danger it presents to people who are exposed to it. You can recover compensation for your injuries and losses by filing an individual lawsuit or joining a mass tort against the manufacturers of this dangerous chemical. Some benefits you will accrue from joining a mass tort include:
Reduced Cost of Litigation
A mass tort comprises many lawsuits filed by plaintiffs who have suffered similar injuries or damages from another person’s negligence. Many individuals, including firefighters and airport workers, have reported severe cancer-related symptoms after exposure to the chemical. By joining a mass tort, you will save the cost of hiring legal representation. A mass tort is handled by a group of competent attorneys seeking compensation for all the plaintiffs.
This helps individuals who cannot afford to hire private legal representation recover a substantial amount for their claim.
Faster Case Resolution
Multiple product liability lawsuits are filed simultaneously when many plaintiffs come together to file a mass tort. A faster resolution of your lawsuit helps ensure you are tied to the civil court process only for a short time. When you recover compensation, you can move on with your life and focus on recovering from the impact of Aqueous film-forming exposure effects.
When you come together with other individuals who have suffered a similar fate from Aqueous Film-Forming Foam exposure, you can combine your resources and hire the best lawyers to represent you in the lawsuit.
Better Chance of Recovering Compensation
You will be entitled to compensation if you prove that your cancer diagnosis or cancer-related symptoms are associated with exposure to AFFF. However, when you have minor injuries, your likelihood of compensation is reduced. This is because the defendants in your lawsuit are large companies capable of hiring expert legal guidance to fight against the lawsuit.
When you join a mass tort, all plaintiffs are treated equally, and your chance of recovering compensation for your injuries increases.
Compensation Benefits in an AFFF lawsuit
If you have suffered a severe medical condition after prolonged exposure to harmful chemicals in firefighting foam, you may be able to recover compensation from the liable parties. When filing a product liability lawsuit, there is no exact amount you expect to recover.
Your compensation will depend on the strength of your case and the severity of your damages. Therefore, it pays to have expert legal insight by your side. Common forms of compensation you could receive from your lawsuit include:
Most illnesses caused by exposure to PFAS and PFOA are severe. Therefore, if your condition is not detected on time, you may spend a lot of money on medical expenses. Some conditions require expensive medical procedures that could affect your financial life. If your product liability claim against AFFF manufacturers is successful, you can be compensated for your medical bills.
Conditions like cancer may cause you to miss weeks or months from work while undergoing extensive treatment procedures. The amount you lose on the days you miss work is known as lost wages and can be compensated in your lawsuit. Proving lost wages for your claim will require you to obtain a letter from your employer or past tax returns showing the amount you lost.
Lost Earning Capacity
Some medical conditions caused by AFFF exposure can cause permanent disability, making it hard for you to work and earn a living in the future. In such a situation, you can seek compensation for losing your future earning capacity. Since the loss has not occurred, seeking compensation for lost earning capacity can be complicated. Having a reliable product liability attorney by your side can make the process easier.
Pain and Suffering
Receiving a diagnosis of a life-changing illness due to another person’s negligence can be devastating. After a diagnosis, you may need extensive treatment procedures that cause physical and emotional suffering. Although pin cannot be quantified, filing a lawsuit or joining a mass tort could result in compensation for these damages.
Frequently Asked Questions on Aqueous Film-Forming Foam
If you or a loved one is dealing with the devastating health effects of exposure to the harmful components of AFFF, understanding how AFFF can impact your life and recover compensation is critical. The following are frequently asked questions on AFFF:
How do PFAS and PFOA exposures occur?
Exposure to the toxic chemicals of AFFF occurs in the following ways:
- Direct contact for firefighters and other individuals who are close when the chemical is used to extinguish a fire.
- Consumption of foods that are grown in soil that is exposed to chemicals.
- Drinking water that is contaminated with AFFF.
Why did the military and firefighters continue using AFFF after discovering the risk?
The Air Force explained that offering fire protection at airbases and airports is a priority for the military. AFFF has superior firefighting abilities compared to other fire-extinguishing chemicals. Since there was no environmentally friendly product to replace AFFF, its use was necessary to avoid the damages and losses caused by uncontrollable fires.
How can I prove that my cancer is related to AFFF exposure?
Although the burden of proof in a product liability case lies with you, you do not need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the chemical caused your illness. Instead, the burden of proof is borne by the preponderance of the evidence. This means that you can recover compensation by proving that:
- You were exposed to PFAS and PFOA due to your occupation or where you lived.
- You suffered a medical condition associated with the toxic chemical components.
- There was a substantial period between exposure and diagnosis of the illness.
What measures has the federal government taken to address PFAS and PFOA exposure?
To reduce the risk of severe illnesses caused by AFFF, the military has begun eliminating PFOS-containing products. Instead, the military and civilian firefighting teams are adopting less toxic products for humans and animals. Additionally, environmental protection agencies regulate the use of toxic firefighting chemicals.
Find Expert Guidance Near Me
Firefighters, including civilian and military units, have used Aqueous Film-Forming Foam to suppress fires for decades. The chemical is used for firefighter training and to extinguish actual fires. Unfortunately, some chemicals found in AFFF have been found to cause severe health effects.
You may be entitled to compensation if you or your loved one has suffered from cancer after exposure to these chemicals. Lawsuits have been filed against 3M, Tyco, DuPont, and other chemical manufacturers. The lawsuit alleges negligence and failure to warn by manufacturers.
Filing an individual lawsuit or joining a mass tort against the manufacturers of Aqueous Film-Forming Foam allows you to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and earning capacity. Seeking expert guidance is critical to ensuring the success of your claim.
At Consumer Alert Now, we will help you understand more details about the aqueous film-forming foam, its effects, and potential complications. Additionally, we will connect you with attorneys who will guide you toward filing a successful claim against the manufacturers of the harmful product. We serve clients seeking expert guidance to navigate mass torts throughout the country. Call us at 800-511-0747 to discuss your case.