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Our Firm Proudly Fights On Behalf Suffering Firefighters or Military Members

According to Department of Defense records, aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) has been used to fight fires in training exercises at many military bases. This foam creates a blanket that cuts off the fuel from the oxygen it needs to burn. To help smother the fire, chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were used. In some cases, they still are.

PFAS are called “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down in the environment but can accumulate in the human body. Research shows a link between prolonged exposure to PFAS and certain types of cancer.

In 2016, the EPA set a lifetime health advisory of 70 parts per trillion for the most common PFAS. An interim advisory issued in 2022 lowered that figure to less than 1 part per trillion for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS).

In October 2019, however, 64 military bases and civilian airports hosting National Guard units measured PFAS levels exceeding 100,000 parts per trillion in groundwater.

AFFF is designed to extinguish jet fuel- and petroleum-based fires, and it has been used for decades by firefighters and U.S. military firefighters. Firefighters who were regularly exposed to the foam may have developed cancer. A number of cancers — including but not limited to breast cancer, liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer — have been associated with exposure to the chemicals that make up AFFF.

Companies — including 3M and Dupont, among others — have sold AFFF products for decades. According to reports, the foam has been used around the country since at least the early 1970s. It’s likely that the manufacturers of firefighting foams have been aware for decades that the PFAS chemicals in AFFF could be toxic to humans. Research shows that PFOS chemicals had been detected in the blood of workers at PFAS manufacturing facilities and the blood of the general population by the end of the 1970s, and a decade later, these chemicals were found to cause cancer in animals.

In 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency launched a program to reduce PFAS emissions and product content by 95% by 2010 and 100% by 2015. Many of these manufacturers started using or making foams using a “short-chain PFAS” that was suggested to be safer for human health, although recent studies show it may not be. Prior to this, the AFFF manufacturers failed to take action to protect users of AFFF despite their knowledge of AFFF’s potential harm.

If you were exposed to this firefighting foam and have been diagnosed with cancer, you may be eligible for compensation. You may qualify for this lawsuit if:

  • You were an airport or military firefighter.
  • You were exposed to firefighting foam monthly for at least 10 years.

A firefighting foam lawsuit may be one way to hold these manufacturers accountable for their negligence. Let our attorneys help you fight for justice. 

Contact an AFFF attorney at Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban today for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call us at (855) 435-7247. No upfront costs or fees: We are only paid if we successfully win your case.

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