AFFF Lawsuit and
Firefighting Foam

AFFF Lawsuit and Firefighting Foam Lawyers

  • AFFF firefighting foam contains toxic chemicals called PFAS that can cause cancer

  • Some cancers caused by exposure to AFFF include kidney, thyroid, liver, pancreatic, testicular, and breast cancer

  • Military personnel, firefighters, airport workers, and civilians living by military bases and airports could become exposed to AFFF

  • Those exposed to AFFF firefighting foam who experience adverse medical conditions can join the AFFF multi-district litigation (MDL) to pursue compensation for damages

  • Bellwether trials should begin for the AFFF firefighting foam MDL in 2024

Firefighters in military and civilian units have used AFFF, also known as Aqueous Film-Forming Foam, to fight fires and 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. 

The buildup of toxic chemicals in the body from using AFFF 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 the emotional and psychological consequences of the dangerous disease. 

If you wish to pursue compensation to pay for AFFF toxic chemical exposure damages, turn to the personal injury law firm with a winning track record of helping victims for decades: The Russo Firm. The product liability lawyers at The Russo Firm believe in providing legal counsel calibrated to the specifics of each client’s case, not just providing “one size fits all” counsel. 

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. 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. We have a track record of assisting clients in holding at-fault parties accountable for their negligence that caused significant damages. Our product liability lawyers can apply this expertise to your AFFF lawsuit, helping you recover from toxic chemical exposure.

The following are some of the case results we have earned for our clients:

  • $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 to prevent a major disaster. 

However, its ability to extinguish fires in tight spaces is also a cause for concern. Some firefighters, military personnel, and civilians have developed cancer from toxic chemicals used in the firefighting foam to help fight fires in tight spaces.

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 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. Once they are in your system, they can stay there for years 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. Victims of cancer through AFFF exposure can suffer wrongful death from the life-threatening impact.

The following are some of the forms of cancer the AFFF and PFAS can cause:

Cancer Symptoms from AFFF Toxic Chemical Exposure

Cancer can cause damaging symptoms that majorly affect your body’s functioning and cause severe pain and suffering. The impact of these life-altering symptoms can affect a person exposed to AFFF, leading to reduced quality of life.

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 and military firefighting units are at the most risk because they must use the firefighting foam daily. 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

PFAS in AFFF does not degrade quickly, and it could take thousands of years for the chemicals to degrade naturally. These “forever chemicals” can seep into the ground where they were used, possibly infecting groundwater. This can cause harm and possibly cancerous consequences for local civilians. 

People can consume food and drinking water contaminated by AFFF, exposing them to PFAS that can cause cancer. 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, military personnel, and airport workers, 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

  • Chemguard

  • Kidde Fire Fighting

  • Buckeye Fire Equipment

  • Dupont

  • 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 multi-district litigation (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 the 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 manufacturers liable for damages. 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.

December 2023 Update on AFFF MDL Bellwether Trials

The bellwether trials, which operate as test trials for mass tort lawsuits, have yet to commence. Recently, the lawyers representing AFFF plaintiffs filed a motion to memorialize a pool of 25 potential plaintiffs whose cases could be used for the bellwether trials.

These trials can help show the plaintiffs and defendants how juries respond to the evidence in the case. It can accelerate the MDL, possibly causing both sides to come to the negotiation table. With recent updates, the bellwether trials should begin in 2024.

Damages in an AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuit

AFFF toxic chemical exposure that leads to cancer can cause both economic and non-economic damages. Victims of PFAS exposure can join the AFFF lawsuit to pursue compensation for 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:

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 for both sides.

Recent Updates in the AFFF MDL

The AFFF firefighting foam MDL continues to progress. More information about how PFAS in AFFF continues to come out and affects the timeline of the consolidated lawsuit.

The following are some recent updates in the AFFF firefighting foam MDL:

  • Judge Gergel has called for the cataloging of all diseases caused by AFFF exposure and a “science day” for medical experts to explain how PFAS causes cancer

  • As of December 2023, there are over 6,000 cases pending in the AFFF lawsuit

  • The defendants and plaintiffs have filed motions in limine to make some evidence inadmissible in future AFFF court cases

  • A National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) study found some firefighting equipment contain PFAS

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.

The following are some ways an experienced personal injury lawyer can help with your AFFF lawsuit:

  • Assess the value of your damages

  • Determine the at-fault party who caused your AFFF exposure

  • Explain mass tort and product liability laws that affect your case

  • File paperwork to join the AFFF firefighting foam MDL

  • Share resources with other lawyers representing AFFF plaintiffs

  • Keep you updated on the AFFF firefighting foam MDL’s progress

  • Help negotiate a global settlement to pay for your specific damages

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 should contain damage and harm, not cause 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 up-to-date and ensure you can receive compensation from any decision.

We offer free consultations to personal injury victims to learn how we can help with your case. Contact us for a free AFFF lawsuit consultation today at (561) 270-0913 or leave a message on our online contact page

Frequently Asked Questions About the AFFF Lawsuit

Who is Eligible to Join the AFFF Lawsuit?

Anyone who suffered medical conditions, such as the ones listed above, from AFFF exposure can file to join the AFFF MDL. This can include firefighters, airport workers, military personnel, and civilians. 

As long as you have evidence showing AFFF exposure caused your adverse health condition, you can join the over 6,000 looking to hold AFF manufacturers accountable for negligence. Contact a product liability lawyer today to learn about the value of your case, how you can join the MDL, and what the future holds for firefighting foam litigation.

How Do PFAS Water Contamination Settlements Affect the AFFF Lawsuit?

Recently, some manufacturers have agreed to a settlement with public water companies for their role in contaminating drinking water. One of the notable settlements was a $10.3 billion settlement from the 3M Company.

Although some cases in the AFFF MDL have to do with water contamination, this will likely not have much of an effect on the mass tort. Plaintiffs will not receive compensation from these settlements going to public water companies. The AFFF firefighting foam MDL will have to continue to progress for plaintiffs to recover compensation for damages.

When Should You File to Join the AFFF MDL?

Those who feel they have a case for joining the AFFF MDL should do so as soon as possible. This MDL has been around for a while at this point and could be advancing toward a settlement. Those who suffered cancer from AFFF exposure shouldn’t miss out on their opportunity to recover compensation from a settlement.

An AFFF firefighting foam settlement could happen as early as next year. People who suffered adverse health conditions from AFFF exposure should contact a lawyer with product liability expertise as soon as possible to go through the steps of joining the AFFF MDL.