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Learn More About The Maui Wildfires

AQUEOUS FILM-FORMING FOAM (AFFF)

WHAT IS AQUEOUS FILM-FORMING FOAM (AFFF)?

Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) has been widely used in firefighting operations to suppress flammable liquid fires where traditional water suppression alone would be ineffective. Despite its effectiveness in extinguishing fires, the use of AFFF has raised significant health and environmental concerns because it contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which include perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). These chemicals are often referred to as “forever chemicals” due to their persistence in the environment and their ability to accumulate over time in the body of exposed individuals, leading to adverse health effects.



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What are the risks of afff exposure?

A growing body of scientific evidence shows that individuals exposed to AFFF may be at risk for a range of serious health problems, including:

  1. Cancer: Organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the International Agency for Research on Cancer have released research that links long-term PFAS exposure in AFFF to an increased risk of cancer, including kidney cancer and testicular cancer.
  2. Thyroid Disease: Studies have suggested that PFAS may interfere with thyroid function, leading to thyroid disease and other hormonal imbalances.
  3. Ulcerative Colitis: Research from Environmental Health Perspectives involving 32,000 individuals from a highly exposed community found that PFOA was strongly correlated with ulcerative colitis. 
  4. Liver Damage: PFAS exposure has been associated with liver damage, including elevated liver enzymes and fatty liver disease.

OVERVIEW OF AFFF LAWSUITS

PFAS from AFFF can contaminate groundwater and drinking water sources near military bases, airports, and sites where AFFF has been used. Extensive research demonstrates a causal link between PFAS contamination in drinking water and health risks. Water contamination lawsuits are being filed against AFFF manufacturers, claiming this widescale contamination has exposed numerous civilians to toxic chemicals.

ASK LLP is currently pursuing personal injury claims on behalf of individuals, particularly military personnel and firefighters, who have been directly exposed to AFFF. Scientific evidence shows a heightened risk of various cancers and diseases in those who had frequent contact to AFFF during training and active duty. Individuals with prolonged exposure to AFFF are now filing AFFF lawsuits against manufacturers, claiming that their injuries could have been avoided if manufacturers had properly warned about the dangers of AFFF. 

WHO MAY BE AT AN ESPECIALLY HIGH EXPOSURE RISK?

  1. Firefighters: Firefighters who use AFFF during training exercises and emergency responses are repeatedly and directly exposed to PFAS. They face inhalation risks when the foam is deployed and potential dermal exposure when handling contaminated equipment.
  2. Military Personnel: Members of the U.S. Air Force and other branches of the military who were involved in firefighting operations have been directly exposed to AFFF. This exposure often occurred during routine training exercises and emergency response situations.
  3. Airport Workers: Airport firefighters or workers who extinguished flammable liquid fires involving jet fuel or were involved in aircraft maintenance or training. During these operations, they may inhale aerosolized particles and come into direct contact with AFFF. 
  4. Chemical Manufacturing Workers: Individuals involved in PFAS manufacturing and workers at processing facilities are at risk of occupational exposure to these chemicals. This group faces higher exposure compared to other users of AFFF.

Exposure to AFFF and the associated PFAS chemicals can have serious, long-term health consequences.  AFFF-related lawsuits are a crucial aspect of the ongoing legal and regulatory response to PFAS contamination. As more information about the environmental and health impacts of these substances becomes available, the number of lawsuits and regulatory actions is likely to increase. If you believe that you have been affected by AFFF contamination, contact ASK LLP, to protect your legal rights.

You may be eligible to file an AFFF lawsuit if you or a loved one was repeatedly exposed to PFAS in AFFF in an occupational setting such as a firefighter or while serving in the military, and later developed Testicular Cancer, Kidney Cancer, Thyroid Disease, Ulcerative Colitis as a result of exposure to AFFF

Contact ASK, LLP,  for a free confidential consultation to see if you qualify. Our team of dedicated professionals is here to listen, support, and help you navigate your legal options. Reach out to us today to take the first step towards justice and holding negligent companies accountable for the harm that they have caused.