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Since the 1950’s some firefighting foams have been produced with toxic chemicals including PFAS, PFOA, PFOS as well as others. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that these chemicals are dangerous, may cause cancer, and the manufacturers who produced these chemicals knew of the possible dangers. The chemicals in firefighting foam have been linked to pancreatic, liver, kidney, testicular cancer, and others.
Firefighters, whether at the traditional city or town fire stations, in airports or on military bases, all rely on a special kind of chemical-based foam to put out fires quickly. This is called aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF).
A vast number of such products are comprised of toxic chemicals, including PFAS and PFOS. These two chemicals have now been scientifically tied to several potentially fatal diseases, such as higher risks of contracting cancers. Because of this, there are several national firefighting foam lawsuits taking place.
The CDC Centers for Diseases Control, as well as the EPA Environmental Protection Agency, have revealed that PFAS is likely connected to cancer. A significant number of large and small-town fire departments have quit deploying any firefighting foams that contain PFAS due to this finding. Unfortunately, though, many military bases around the United States still utilize the dangerous foam. PFAS and PFOS found in this foam not only impact those who touch it, but the chemicals also seep into the local area groundwater. This contaminates the local supply of drinking water.
In the military, firefighters have utilized this foam for nearly 60 years. Firefighters stationed at airports used the foam through 2018 according to regulations mandated by the FAA Federal Aviation Administration. Recently, the Department of Defense (DOD) found more than 400 individual military locations that have possibly been contaminated by the poisonous compounds found in this firefighting foam.
A federal inquiry was held in 2018 and uncovered that PFAS is even more dangerous than previously reported. The panel immediately changed the recommendation on safe levels of human exposure to these hazardous compounds. Several lawsuits were filed against the firefighting foam manufacturers for not providing sufficient warning that the exposure to these dangerous chemicals found in the foam can cause a number of different, potentially lethal cancers.
Several health organizations have determined that some forms of PFAS can impact the immune system and raise the potential for contracting cancers. Various medical research teams have made the same determination. The EPA classifies the foam product chemicals as "emerging contaminants," which signifies that the environmental dangers and health risks of AFFF are substantial.
Recently, the International Agency for Researching Cancer (IARC) labeled PFOA a potential carcinogenic for humans. They did this by using the evidence obtained in studies of bladder cancer in factory workers who had suffered from prolonged exposure to PFOA.
Additional medical and scientific evidence reveals that ongoing exposure to PFOS and PFOA via AFFF is connected with many types of cancers (see below).
Besides these life-threatening cancers, additional severe side effects of chemical exposure for firefighters include fertility complications in women, impaired or stunted growth in children, and severe and irreversible damage to the human immune system.
Certain occupations had a higher risk of suffering from AFFF-related ailments. U.S. military firefighters are at risk because this foam was used for about 60 years. Firefighters at airports are at high risk because they were required to use this foam until 2018. The risk and danger of these chemicals also affect occupations below.
Firefighters at training areas
Military airport hanger maintenance workers
Chemical plant workers
Oil refinery, terminal, or bulk fuel storage farm employees
Flammable liquids facilities’ workers that process or store these liquids
United States military service personnel, in particular, those serving in the air force and navy
Individuals who possess the highest risk of illness from AFFF are air force personnel who became directly exposed to the foam, the firefighters who used it directly, the workers who manufacture the foam itself, and people who live close to military bases that utilized AFFF.
There are a variety of in-process lawsuits centering on this firefighter foam. They allege that the companies responsible for the foam knowingly created, produced, and sold the AFFF-containing PFAS to allow the contamination to occur. Their products permitted a PFAS bioaccumulation that entered the victims' bodies and bloodstreams. Their groundwater is also heavily contaminated in areas surrounding numerous airports, military bases, and various other locations where the foams were deployed. This led to a vast array of health risks to the public, significant economic harm, and sometimes substantial property damage.
Those products that have been produced and distributed as safe items should not harm any individuals. Yet as the manufacturers misrepresent their products' safety, this begs the question of whether or not the maker appropriately tested out its products before bringing them to the market. Even worse, they might have been well aware of the dangers to public health and deliberately released it in any case despite its obvious danger.
The evidence points to the likelihood that the chemical manufacturers intentionally and willfully ignored their own test's evidence on the possible dangerous side effects that came from being exposed to the toxic chemicals found in these products.
These AFFF items were created, produced, marketed, sold, and distributed by the following companies alone or in concert with one another.
Buckeye Fire Equipment
Tyco Fire Products
Kidde Fire Fighting
UTC Fire & Security
These companies (and primarily 3M) are now fighting a rising number of lawsuits for firefighting foams that they marketed for over 50 years. Such products were utilized heavily in airports, on American military bases, and in various industrial locations throughout the U.S. over many decades, causing irreparable harm. If you or a family member were diagnosed with cancer or a family member died from cancer after exposure to these chemicals you may want to file an AFFF foam lawsuit. You deserve compensation for your injuries, lost wages, pain and suffering. You may qualify for one of the class action lawsuits that are taking place due to exposure to AFFF foam.