Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) and Cancer Risks

Eric Blank Injury Attorneys: AFFF and Cancer Risks

As our society continues to advance technologically, we are often presented with new substances that are meant to make our lives easier, safer, and more convenient. Unfortunately, not all of these substances are safe. One such substance is Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), a firefighting foam that has been widely used for decades. Recently, however, reports have emerged suggesting that exposure to AFFF can pose serious health consequences.

If you or a loved one has been exposed to AFFF, you may be entitled to compensation. Eric Blank Injury Attorneys is an experienced personal injury law firm that has assisted many clients injured by dangerous products and chemicals such as AFFF.

What are AFFFs?

Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) is a firefighting foam used to suppress flames involving liquids such as gasoline and oil. AFFF is successful in extinguishing flames by producing a blanket of foam that covers the surface of the fuel, isolating it from oxygen, and preventing it from igniting. The composition of AFFF includes water, fluorochemical surfactants, and other additions.

AFFF was created in the 1960s to replace the previous generation of firefighting foams, which were less effective and more environmentally hazardous. AFFF became the standard firefighting foam used by military and civilian fire departments in the United States and around the world quite fast. Concerns regarding the health and environmental implications of AFFF have been highlighted in recent years.

Applications of AFFF

AFFF has been widely used in the US and around the world for several decades. It is used in a variety of settings where there is a risk of fires involving flammable liquids.

Some of the most common uses of AFFF include:

  • Military installations: AFFF is used extensively on military bases to extinguish fires involving jet fuel and other flammable liquids.
  • Airports: AFFF is used to extinguish fires involving aircraft and other vehicles that use aviation fuel.
  • Industrial facilities: AFFF is used in a variety of industries, including oil and gas, chemical manufacturing, and transportation, to prevent and extinguish fires involving flammable liquids.

Reports on AFFF's Toxicity and Health Effects

While AFFF has been effective at suppressing fires, concerns have been raised about its toxicity and environmental impact. Over the past few years, there has been an increasing number of reports on the toxicity and health effects of AFFF. Studies have linked AFFF exposure to the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the bloodstream, which have been associated with a range of health problems. Investigations have also found that AFFF has contaminated drinking water supplies in communities around military bases and airports, leading to concerns about widespread exposure.

Here are a few examples of news and studies related to the health and environmental impact of AFFF:

  • A study published in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology found that firefighters who were exposed to AFFF had higher levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in their blood than those who were not exposed. PFAS have been linked to a range of health problems, including cancer, immune system dysfunction, and developmental delays.
  • An investigation by the Tampa Bay Times found that AFFF had contaminated drinking water supplies in communities around military bases and airports. The investigation found that the contamination was widespread and that residents had not been adequately informed of the risks.
  • In 2018, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a study that found that people who live near military bases or airports where AFFF was used had higher levels of PFAS in their blood than the general population. The study concluded that the use of AFFF was a significant source of PFAS exposure for these communities.
  • In 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it would begin the process of regulating PFAS as a class of chemicals. The EPA has identified AFFF as a major source of PFAS contamination in the environment.
  • The revised version of the bipartisan 2023 National Defense Authorization Act, passed on Dec. 15, 2022, includes a provision requiring an annual progress report on certifying PFAS-free replacements for AFFF. The DOD is already required to phase out all military use of AFFF by Oct. 1, 2024.
  • As of January 2023, there are a total of 3,387 active cases pending in the AFFF class action MDL.

As more research is conducted, it is likely that we will learn more about the risks associated with AFFF exposure.

Common Types of AFFF-Related Cancer and Health Problems

Several health issues, including cancer, have been associated with the use of AFFF. PFAS compounds present in AFFF have been proven to accumulate in the body over time and can cause major health problems, such as:

  • Testicular cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma non-Hodgkin
  • Thyroid disease

Occupations at Risk of AFFF-Related Cancer and Health Problems

Certain occupations may be at a higher risk of developing cancer or other health problems related to AFFF exposure. These include:

  • Firefighters: Firefighters are often exposed to AFFF as part of their work, which can increase their risk of cancer and other health problems.
  • Military personnel: Military personnel who have worked on bases where AFFF was used may also be at an increased risk of health problems.
  • Airport workers: Workers at airports where AFFF is used may also be at an increased risk of health problems.

Signs and Symptoms of AFFF-Related Cancer and Health Problems

The signs and symptoms of AFFF-related cancer and health problems can vary depending on the type of cancer or disease. Some common signs and symptoms may include:

  • Chronic coughing or wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Persistent abdominal pain or bloating
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue or weakness
  • Nausea or vomiting

Who You Can Sue for AFFF-Related Cancer and Health Problems

If you have been diagnosed with cancer or other health concerns resulting from exposure to AFFF, you may be able to launch a lawsuit against the product's producers or the companies that used or sold it. They may include:

  • Manufacturers of AFFF: Companies that produce AFFF or the chemicals used to make it can be held liable for any harm caused by their products.
  • Distributors of AFFF: Companies that sell AFFF products to end-users can also be held liable for any harm caused by their products.
  • Contractors and facilities that used AFFF: Companies that used AFFF in their operations, such as firefighting or training exercises, may be held responsible for any harm caused to their employees or other individuals who were exposed to the product.
  • Government entities: Some lawsuits related to AFFF exposure have been filed against government entities, such as the Department of Defense, which used the product extensively in military operations.

It's important to note that the specific parties you may be able to sue will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you determine who may be held responsible for your injuries and help you pursue compensation.

Eric Blank Injury Attorneys: Legal Options

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer or other health problems related to exposure to AFFF, Eric Blank Injury Attorneys is here to help. Our experienced personal injury attorneys have a deep understanding of the science behind AFFF exposure and can help you navigate the legal process. We will work with you to gather all necessary evidence, build a strong case on your behalf, and recover compensation for the harm you have suffered.

To determine if you have an AFFF cancer case, contact Eric Blank Injury Attorneys at (702) 825-6803 (702) 825-6803 or visit www.ericblanklaw.com. At Eric Blank Injury Attorneys, we offer a free case review to anyone who has been harmed by AFFF exposure.

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