Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) are a large group of human-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide since the 1950s. PFAS have been used specifically in some synthetic Class B firefighting foams, including aqueous film-forming foam (“AFFF”).
AFFF or firefighting foam is used to extinguish certain types of fires. AFFF contains high levels of PFAS, which are commonly known as “forever chemicals.” Recent scientific research has shown that PFAS are very toxic to the human body, and chronic exposure to the PFAS in AFFF firefighting foam has been linked to several different types of cancer. AFFF firefighting foam has been used for decades to prevent dangerous fires. AFFF is used regularly in live action and training exercises by professional firefighters, military personnel, and other occupations.
The science behind AFFF lawsuits involves the study of the properties and behavior of PFAS chemicals in the environment and their potential health effects on human and wildlife populations. PFAS chemicals are highly persistent and can remain in the environment and the human body for many years and in some cases, for life. These forever chemicals cannot be broken down in the human body.
Studies by the International Agency for Research on Cancer have concluded that individuals regularly exposed to PFAS chemicals have an increased risk of developing kidney, prostate, and testicular cancer. The American Cancer Society has since identified PFAS in firefighting foam as a human carcinogen. Further research identified additional types of cancer that appear to be linked to AFFF exposure, including thyroid cancer, colon cancer, bladder cancer, and lymphoma.
In AFFF lawsuits, plaintiffs typically allege that the manufacturers of AFFF foams failed to warn about the potential health risks associated with PFAS exposure and failed to take adequate steps to prevent environmental contamination.
Scientific research has determined that chronic exposure to AFFF firefighting foam (both occupational exposure and groundwater contamination exposure) can cause increased rates of specific types of cancer. The types of cancer that have been linked to AFFF exposure include:
Individuals who can prove that they were exposed to chemicals in AFFF firefighting foam and subsequently developed one of these cancer types may be able to bring an AFFF lawsuit and get financial compensation.
If you have been exposed to AFFF firefighting foam and suffered one or more of the cancers identified above, contact Meshbesher & Spence today for a free consultation.