Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) has been used as an active fire-extinguishing component since the 1970s. It is used to control liquid fires, such as those caused by gasoline and jet fuel.
The AFFF foam has been found to contain chemicals that are carcinogenic in nature. Exposure to such chemicals can cause acute occupational hazards. Commodities that can withstand heat, oil, and grease contain varying proportions of Per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). A recent study by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that exposure to PFAS can result in a number of health problems, including cancer and liver damage.
AFFF firefighting foam contains PFAS chemicals. Exposure to this group of ‘forever chemicals’ has posed a grave threat to the lives of people who have come in contact with it directly(firefighters) or indirectly (water contamination).
The AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuit aims to bring justice to people who were exposed to the toxins and are battling health issues.
Perfluorinated and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) contain in excess of 4 700 chemicals. These substances are persistent in our environment and bodies. They are responsible for health conditions like cancer, obesity, liver damage, and fertility issues.
According to a study published by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2007, around 98% of the US population has traces of PFAS in their blood. The health implications of exposure to these chemicals can have life-long effects.
Some of the common health issues that can occur are:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Colon cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Changes in liver enzymes
- Decreases in infant birth weights
- Risk of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women
The sheer concentration of the PFAS chemicals makes the detailed component-wise risk assessment and management strategy inefficient.
On August 26, 2022, the EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) proposed to categorize the two most common PFASs, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), as risky substances under CERCLA, or Superfund.
Such steps triggered a string of litigations against the manufacturers of these chemicals for failing to adequately warn consumers about the grave health risks of these toxins.
Multiple AFFF firefighting foam litigations have found more than 20 manufacturers of the foam liable. Some of them are (but are not limited to):
- Tyco Fire Products
- Chemguard Inc
- ChemDesign Inc
In March 2020, a testicular cancer victim’s litigation ordered DuPont to pay $50 million as compensation for the PFAS chemicals in drinking water that led to his illness.
According to the lawsuit, seepage of AFFF into the water resulted in the victim’s cancer diagnosis.
DuPont was involved in another high-profile settlement case in 2017. The company settled hundreds of cases for $671 million over claims that it dumped PFAS into West Virginia’s waterways.
Another notable instance involved the companies 3M and Wolverine Worldwide. They had to shell out $54 million as the PFAS class action lawsuit settlement involving residents of Kent County.
The AFFF multidistrict litigation has not seen any settlements yet, but according to the legal community at TorHoerman Law, LLC, the AFFF Lawsuit Settlement Amounts could reach $300,000 or more, depending on the case. Their attorneys have handled similar cases and have won over $4 billion in settlements for innocent victims.
The success of your firefighting lawsuit largely rests on the pieces of evidence gathered by you, the damages estimated cumulatively by you and your law firm, and the conclusive understanding of the liabilities by your AFFF lawyers.
The other factors, to name a few, that determine your AFFF settlement amount are:
- The amount or level of exposure to firefighting foam
- Cancer diagnosis information
- Medical bills and cost of treatment
- Other compensatory or punitive damages
A stream of evidence forms the backbone of your stance for justice. Your medical records, information pertaining to your cancer diagnosis, past and/or current employment records, and history of AFFF exposure are a few pieces of evidence that can help you and your attorney build your case.
Profits have always mattered more as compared to their responsibilities when it comes to big private companies. With their extensive marketing and PR campaigns, they are all set to woo the common people into using their products.
It is imperative that you stay abreast with the latest developments in AFFF contamination litigations to safeguard yourself and your loved ones.
It is important to reach out to experienced lawyers if you, or someone you know, has been harmed by AFFF contamination. They can help you through the legal system and assist you in pursuing the compensation you are entitled to.