Firefighting Foam Lawsuits: PFAS in AFFF Linked to Cancer, Other Health Problems
Last Updated on August 2, 2022
At A Glance
- This Alert Affects:
- Firefighters who were exposed to aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) on the job and developed cancer, thyroid disease or ulcerative colitis.
- What’s Going On?
- Lawsuits are being filed alleging AFFF manufacturers knowingly sold toxic firefighting foam and should be responsible for the harm firefighters suffered as a result. Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are now offering to speak, free of charge, to firefighters (and family members acting on their behalf) who want to learn more about their rights.
- How Could a Lawsuit Help Me?
- A lawsuit could provide compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, funeral expenses and more.
- What You Can Do
- If you want to learn more about your rights, fill out the form on this page. After you get in touch, one of the attorneys working with ClassAction.org may reach out to you directly to answer any questions you may have and to explain more about filing a lawsuit.
- Does It Cost Anything to Speak to Someone?
- It’s completely free, and you’re under no obligation to take legal action after speaking to someone about your rights.
If you or a family member worked as a firefighter and developed cancer, thyroid disease or ulcerative colitis, you may be able to take legal action.
Lawsuits continue to be filed alleging a handful of companies knowingly sold firefighting foams that contain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), toxic chemicals that have long been linked to serious health problems.
Now, attorneys working with ClassAction.org are offering to speak to firefighters and their families, free of charge, to help determine whether a lawsuit is right for them. A successful case could provide compensation for medical bills, physical pain and other damages stemming from exposure to toxic firefighting foam.
To learn more about your rights and what’s involved in filing a lawsuit, fill out the form on this page or keep reading for more.
How Are Firefighters Exposed to PFAS?
Firefighters are most commonly exposed to PFAS chemicals, also known as “forever chemicals,” through aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), a type of synthetic firefighting foam used in training and actual fire emergencies. PFAS in AFFF products act as surfactants that distribute foam to cool and suppress a fire.
Firefighters may also be exposed to PFAS via their uniforms and gear.
Do All Firefighting Foams Contain PFAS Chemicals?
First, it’s important to point out that there are two types of firefighting foam: Class A and Class B foams.
Class A foams are typically used to combat wildfires and structural fires, while Class B foams are designed to put out fires involving “flammable and combustible liquids and gases; petroleum greases, tars, oils and gasoline; and solvents and alcohols,” a fact sheet from the Interstate Technology Regulatory Council (ITRC) states.
The “vast majority” of Class B firefighting foam currently in stock or in use in the United States is aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) and all AFFF products contain PFAS chemicals, according to the ITRC. Class A foams do not contain PFAS.
Which Cancers Have Been Linked to Firefighting Foam?
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are specifically looking to file lawsuits on behalf of firefighters who developed any of the following types of cancer:
- Kidney cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Liver cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
They believe firefighters who developed ulcerative colitis or thyroid disease (hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism) may be able to take legal action as well.
Who Would I Be Suing?
In most cases, your lawsuit will be filed against the company that made the foam that was the source of the exposure. Your attorney will work with you to help establish the manufacturer(s) of the firefighting foam you or your loved one worked with; you do not need to know these offhand.
Examples of companies that produced AFFF products and have been named in lawsuits include:
- The 3M Company
- Chemguard, Inc.
- The Chemours Company
- National Foam Inc.
- Tyco Fire Products
What Could I Get from a Firefighting Foam Lawsuit?
If your case is successful, you may be able to recover money for:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost wages or loss of earning capacity
- Loss of life’s enjoyment
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of spousal benefits (comfort, love, sex, etc.)
- Funeral expenses
What’s Involved in Filing a Lawsuit?
Before your lawsuit is officially filed with the court, your attorney will need to ask you a few questions about your (or your family member’s) work and medical history. For instance, he or she may need to know names of former employers, length of time with each employer, when and how the diagnosis came about, and how the condition has affected your life.
With the information obtained regarding prior employment, your attorney will be able to establish the AFFF manufacturers you will be suing. These companies will be known as the defendants.
Your attorney will then draft what’s known as a complaint. This will be a multi-page document explaining why the defendants are responsible for your injuries and what damages (that is, compensation) you are seeking.
For instance, your complaint may claim that the defendants:
- Failed to provide sufficient warnings that use of their AFFF products could allow toxic chemicals to accumulate in the blood and lead to serious health problems
- Failed to provide adequate instructions to help firefighters lessen their exposure
- Failed to use reasonable care in testing, designing and inspecting the products
- Could have manufactured a safer alternative to PFAS-containing AFFF, yet failed to do so
- Sold defective and unreasonably dangerous products that are not safe for their intended purpose
- Intentionally concealed the hazards of their products
- Challenged, ignored and tried to discredit research linking firefighting foam to adverse health effects
Once your complaint is filed with the court, your lawsuit officially begins. From here, it will be a lot of back and forth between your attorney and the attorney(s) for the defendants in an attempt to resolve the matter. The attorneys may take depositions, issue subpoenas, hire experts, attend hearings, and file motions, briefs or other documents with the court.
If the lawsuit is not dismissed and a settlement cannot be reached, the case will proceed to jury trial.
Is This a Class Action Lawsuit I Can Join?
No. Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are handling these cases on an individual basis, and not as a class action lawsuit. Find out more about the difference here.
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost?
Attorneys working with ClassAction.org are handling these cases on a contingency-fee basis. This means they will only get paid if they win your case. Their payment will come as a percentage of your settlement or jury award.
How You Can Learn More
If you or a loved one worked as a firefighter and developed cancer, thyroid disease or ulcerative colitis, fill out the form on this page to learn more about your rights.
It costs nothing to get in touch with us or to speak to the attorneys we work with. Plus, you’re not obligated to take legal action after talking to an attorney. There is a time limit for filing a lawsuit, however, so be sure to fill out the form today.
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