What is AFFF?
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) belong to a family of man-made chemical compounds used in consumer products such as cleaning solutions, nonstick cookware, paints, water-resistant fabrics, shampoo, dental floss, eye makeup, and so much more.1
PFAS are commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” because they are nearly indestructible. Two PFAS compounds, perfluorooctane acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), have been added to firefighting aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) for decades. These two substances are highly toxic, long-lasting, and can build up in the body over time, leading to various forms of cancer in people who are exposed to AFFF.
According to the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), cancer is now the leading cause of death among firefighters.2
Exposure to the Chemicals in AFFF
The International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) reports that firefighters can be markedly exposed to various PFAS in firefighting foam from occupational mechanisms, which include direct exposure during use as well as exposure from contaminated personal protective equipment (PPE), handling of contaminated equipment, managing PFAS foam clean up, by living in contaminated fire station housing, and consumption of contaminated local water and produce. Cross-contamination and long-lasting PFAS residue from inadequately decontaminated surfaces, even after transitioning to fluorine-free foam, can remain a persistent problem.
There is solid evidence from studies stating that firefighters using aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) have elevated blood levels of PFHxS and PFOS.3
The Future of PFAS in Firefighting Foam
The American multinational conglomerate 3M ceased production of its entire line of PFAS, including the chemicals used in firefighting foam, after the EPA published a SNUR (significant new use rule) in 2002, requiring any company (including imports) to notify the EPA before continuing the manufacture of 75 PFAS chemicals that are specifically included in 3M’s voluntary phase-out of PFOS.4
In 2018 Washington state was the first state in America to place restrictions on PFAS in firefighting foam. Two years later the state removed exemptions, creating the most powerful ban against PFAS in the country. Since then, PFAS in firefighting foam has been banned in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington, leading the fight for safer, effective, fluorine-free alternatives in firefighting foam.
Who Qualifies for a Lawsuit?
Any civilian or military firefighter who was exposed to AFFF and has been diagnosed with thyroid disease (Hypo and Hyperthyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease), blood cancer (Leukemia, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Hodgkin’s Lymphoma), ulcerative colitis, kidney cancer, testicular cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, bladder cancer, or liver cancer may be entitled to compensation.
What to Expect from The Nations Law Firm
Contact us for a free consultation with one of our AFFF attorneys. If we determine that you have a right to compensation, we will represent you in a lawsuit against the manufacturers of AFFF. We represent firefighters across the country and have decades of experience handling cases such as this.
Call us today at (855) 888-0806 or use our secure online form to send us your information.
The Nations Law Firm, established in 1971, is a veteran-owned business. Howard Nations is a veteran of the United States Army, having served as a Russian linguist in Military Intelligence in Korea.
If you’re a civilian or military firefighter who’s been exposed to Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF), also known as Firefighting Foam, please call us at 855-888-0806 or fill out our form below and a representative will help you.