Firefighters in military and civilian units have used AFFF, also known as Aqueous Film-Forming Foam, to fight actual fires and to practice fire responses in training scenarios. However, AFFF has toxic chemicals like PFAS, also known as per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, that can build up in the blood when exposed to AFFF. Using AFFF and the buildup of toxic chemicals in the body can lead to catastrophic harm, possibly causing life-threatening cancer.
Victims of toxic chemical buildup from AFFF have been working toward securing compensation through multi-district litigation (MDL), a type of mass tort that consolidates individual lawsuits and transfers them to one court. If you contracted cancer from exposure to toxic chemicals in AFFF, contact a personal injury lawyer today to learn about your options for pursuing compensation. The personal injury lawyers at The Russo Firm can help you file a lawsuit, join the MDL, and put you in the best position to receive compensation for AFFF damages.
Why Choose The Russo Firm For Help With Your Firefighting Foam Claim?
Cancer is one of the most severe and life-threatening diseases one can contract. It can damage your physical well-being and mental health as you deal with such a dangerous disease’s emotional and psychological consequences. If you wish to pursue compensation to pay for the economic and non-economic damages of AFFF toxic chemical exposure, turn to the personal injury law firm with a winning track record of helping victims for decades: The Russo Firm.
The personal injury lawyers at The Russo Firm believe in providing personalized legal counsel calibrated to the specifics of each client’s case, not just providing “one size fits all” counsel to every client. Communication is our number one key to success, keeping in constant contact with our clients so they know what’s going on with their case and their thoughts and concerns can be addressed. If you are struggling financially after a cancer diagnosis from AFFF exposure, contact The Russo Firm today for a free consultation to learn how we can help you secure compensation for damages.
The Russo Firm Case Results
At The Russo Firm, we have helped victims of injuries and illnesses caused by others for decades.
The following are some of the case results we have earned for our clients:
- $3.3 Million for Automobile Accident With a Drunk Driver
- $2.4 Million for Medical Malpractice Misdiagnosis
- $1.75 Million Product Liability Jury Award for Crush Hand
- $650,000 Automobile Accident Jury Award for Reconstructed Knee
What is AFFF Firefighting Foam?
Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) was developed in the 1960s to help fight fires that water alone could not handle. The United States Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) developed the fire suppressor to help with aviation fires. The foam puts a layer of film over the fuel that powers the fire. This film engulfs the fire, cooling it down and eventually suppressing it altogether.
By the 1970s, AFFF became the number one fire suppressor on the market, with over 90 airports and most civilian fire departments using it to combat fires. AFFF was so valuable because of its ability to fight fires quickly in tight spaces, in which a fire can escalate to a major disaster. However, its ability to extinguish fires in tight spaces is also a cause for concern, as some have developed cancer from toxic chemicals used in the firefighting foam.
PFAS in AFFF Makes the Firefighting Foam Toxic
AFFF is made out of per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that help to combat fires. Otherwise known as “forever chemicals, these manmade chemical compounds are used in food packaging, household products, and AFFF. Although they have helped AFFF to suppress fires, these persistent chemicals have toxic qualities that can infect the blood of people and animals, drinking water, and soil.
Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are the kinds of PFAS found in AFFF, which are toxic and can cause cancer. By 2002, these chemicals were deemed dangerous by the biggest manufacturer of PFOS, 3M Company. The industry took a while to begin to phase out the toxic chemicals, with that not happening until 2015. However, the toxic chemicals still persist in AFFF and can cause life-threatening illnesses if a person is exposed for too long.
Cancer Caused by AFFF Firefighting Foam
Once the PFAS from AFFF seeps into the body, it can combine with proteins in the blood and stay there long-term. These chemicals do not biodegrade, so once they are in your system, they can stay there and harm your body. Those exposed to AFFF can become vulnerable to nine types of fluorinate compounds that can substantially increase the risk of cancer.
Cancer causes dangerous cancer cells that can grow and spread throughout the body, possibly causing cancerous tumors that invade nearby tissues. This process can lead to damage and harm that can threaten the lives of those exposed to the toxic chemicals in AFFF.
The following are some of the forms of cancer the AFFF and PFAS can cause:
- Kidney cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Liver cancer
- Breast cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Ovarian cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Bladder cancer
Cancer Symptoms from AFFF Toxic Chemical Exposure
Cancer can cause damaging symptoms that majorly affect your body’s functioning and cause severe pain and discomfort. The following are some of the symptoms you can have cancer caused by AFFF toxic chemical exposure:
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue and nausea
- Unexplained weight loss
- Intense pain in different parts of the body
- Bone pain
- Blood clots
- Severe headaches
- Jaundiced skin
If you feel you suffer from some of these symptoms, it would be best to head to the hospital to have a doctor check out your medical condition. Contact a personal injury lawyer to help you pursue compensation for cancer caused by AFFF exposure.
What Professions Are Most at Risk of Suffering Harm from AFFF Firefighting Foam?
The professions most at risk of contracting cancer due to AFFF toxic chemical exposure are those that work with firefighting equipment. Civilian firefighting units are at the most risk because they must use the firefighting foam daily. Without adequate warning of the dangers of AFFF, firefighters can use the foam in close quarters without knowing they are at risk of exposure to toxic chemicals.
The United States Navy initially created AFFF to help suppress fires and use it in training exercises to teach appropriate fire responses. AFFF can also smother jet fuel fires that can crop up. The Navy has begun to transition away from using products with PFAS but still uses these chemicals while searching for a safer solution.
Airport workers also use AFFF to suppress engine fires in planes. These workers were exposed to toxic chemicals until 2018, when information about how AFFF can cause cancer became more widely publicized.
AFFF Firefighting Foam Exposure in Groundwater and Drinking Water
AFFF does not degrade quickly, and it could take thousands of years for the substance to degrade naturally. It can seep into the ground where it was used, possibly infecting groundwater. This can cause harm and possibly cancerous consequences for local civilians. Those living around naval bases and airports could be at more risk of being exposed to the toxic chemicals in AFFF.
Filing an AFFF Firefighting Foam Exposure Lawsuit
If you were exposed to toxic chemicals in AFFF, you could file a claim to pursue damages caused by your cancer diagnosis. Manufacturers have been held liable for AFFF toxic chemical exposure, which means it falls under product liability.
Product liability claims are those designed to hold manufacturers, designers, sellers, and distributors liable for defective and dangerous products. You can file a product liability claim if:
- A product has a defective design
- A product has manufacturing defects
- There was a failure to warn of the health risks associated with a product
The manufacturers of AFFF have yet to warn the public of how PFAS in the firefighting foam can cause cancer. Although there has been movement in many industries to stop using PFAS, the damage has already been done to many people who have contracted cancer from AFFF toxic chemical exposure.
Manufacturers Liable for AFFF Firefighting Foam Exposure
The manufacturers of AFFF are the liable parties in most AFFF firefighting foam cases, as it is their duty to send out safe products that do not cause harm. Mistakes in producing these fire suppression products have led to cancer for firefighters, with not enough done to mitigate harm.
The following are some of the manufacturers of AFFF that The Russo Firm can help you file an AFFF firefighting foam claim with:
- 3M Company
- Tyco Fire Products
- Kidde Fire Fighting
- Buckeye Fire Equipment
- Chubb Fire
- The Chemours Company
This is not the complete list of possibly liable manufacturers. When you turn to The Russo Firm, we will do our due diligence to find the liable party, whether they are on this list or not.
The AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuit Multi-District Litigation
On September 29th, 2018, the Judicial Panel for Multi-District Litigation (JPML) consolidated all of the AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits into one MDL to promote consistency in discovery and streamline litigation. It is called Aqueous Film-Forming Foams Product Liability Litigation, MDL-2873. At the time of consolidation, over 80 class action lawsuits were consolidated before Judge Richard M. Gergel in United States Federal Court for the District of South Carolina.
However, the number of cases has increased over the four years since the MDL was consolidated. Now, there are over 2,700 individual AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits designed to hold AFFF manufacturers liable for cancerous damages caused by toxic PFAS.
The most recent update happened on September 6th, 2021, when Judge Gergel issued a case management order indicating that the AFFF bellwether trials would begin in April of 2023. No settlement negotiations will begin until after the bellwether trials commence in the Spring of 2023.
Damages in an AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuit
AFFF toxic chemical exposure that leads to cancer can cause both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those with a monetary value, such as medical bills, lost wages, and hospital costs. Non-economic damages are those that are intangible and reflect how your life has changed due to your cancer diagnosis, such as mental anguish and pain and suffering.
The following are some of the damages you could pursue for AFFF toxic chemical exposure:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
AFFF Firefighting Lawsuit Settlement Amounts
The manufacturers of AFFF are not ready to settle the MDL, as there are bellwether trials set to begin in April 2023. Bellwether trials serve as “test” trials in a large mass tort litigation, allowing both sides to see how a jury will likely evaluate the case. After the bellwether trials conclude, both sides will likely start negotiating a settlement. This is because one side will see that the bellwether trial favored the other side, and a settlement could prevent a more expensive decision in a court trial.
The AFFF settlement amount will be based on the type and severity of cancer developed by the plaintiffs. It’s too early to accurately project what a settlement could be valued at before the bellwether trials. However, based on settlement amounts from other notable mass tort cases, plaintiffs can expect low six figures for a settlement amount. Although some mass tort trial awards have exceeded one million dollars, most mass tort cases aren’t tried before a jury due to the major risk associated for both sides.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help With an AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuit?
The process of an MDL can be confusing for those without a law degree, so AFFF toxic chemical exposure victims need to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. They can help you better understand your legal right to compensation, work for you to earn fair compensation, and provide peace of mind as they handle the claims process.
The last thing you should have to worry about after a cancer diagnosis is how to add your lawsuit to an MDL. You should worry about your recovery, medical treatment, and mental health. Allow a personal injury lawyer you trust to take over the claims process and keep you up-to-date on how the MDL is progressing toward receiving fair compensation for your PFAS exposure.
Contact The Russo Firm for Help With Your AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuit
The last thing a firefighter or other professionals that use AFFF firefighting foam should have to worry about is possibly getting cancer. Using firefighting foam is to contain damage and harm, not incur it through toxic exposure. A personal injury lawyer can help you pursue compensation for damages in an AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit.
At The Russo Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers can use their expertise in litigating claims and lawsuits to help you pursue compensation from the at-fault party’s insurance company. As the MDL progresses to a possible settlement, our personal injury attorneys can keep you knowledgeable of any updates and ensure you can receive compensation from any decision.
At The Russo Firm, we offer free consultations to personal injury victims to learn how we can help with your case. If you suffered damages from AFFF firefighting foam, contact us at 844-847-8300 or leave a message on our online contact page.