If you or a loved one used firefighting foam and developed cancer, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Contact the Kishish Law Group today for your free and confidential case evaluation by completing our contact form or by calling us toll free at 1 (888) 402-5552.
The use of firefighting foams has been linked to an increased risk of developing cancer. Chemicals in these foams—termed "forever chemicals" because they are nearly indestructible—can infiltrate the human body and cause significant health problems, including a variety of cancers. Firefighters, military servicemembers, and industrial and airport workers whose work involved the application of these foams are at heightened risk of exposure to the toxic "forever chemicals."
Firefighters and other trained users of these foams are now suing the manufacturers of firefighting foams that contain these chemicals. They allege that the companies knew that the foams were dangerous and continued to sell them despite the demonstrated risk of cancer. You may be able to join these lawsuits if use of a firefighting foam caused your cancer. A lawsuit can help you recover the cost of medical bills, lost wages, and other costs associated with your pain and suffering. These lawsuits can also pressure companies to make changes to their manufacturing practices to help keep future firefighters safe.
What is firefighting foam?
Firefighting foam is a foam used by firefighters and other workers to control and extinguish fires. Since the invention of the first fire extinguishers at the turn of the 20th century, firefighters have long used foams to help control and extinguish blazes. In the mid-1960s, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory worked with Minnesota-based 3M to develop a new type of firefighting foam that was better at suppressing fires. The new foam created a film that sat on top of the fuel source and prevented a fire from reigniting after firefighters put it out. The new foam contained chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. There are several kinds of these substances, and the group is collectively termed "PFAS." Researchers called the new foam "aqueous film-forming foam" or AFFF, for short.
This foam quickly gained popularity because of its effectiveness. For decades, the U.S. Navy used the foam on all its aircraft carriers and the military kept supplies of the foam at hundreds of its bases. Airports and major refineries stocked the foam to put out fuel fires. Even civilian fire departments stored the foam. One recent survey of Michigan fire departments found that nearly half had some version of this foam in their inventories.
But as firefighters around the country adopted the foam, research began to emerge that the foam could be environmentally dangerous. As early as 1974, the Navy's own scientists began to express reservations about large white rafts of foam floating into naval harbors. The scientists wrote reports that cautioned that putting "undrinkable substances" in the water could have harmful environmental effects. Over twenty years later, research started to show that even small amounts of chemicals in the foam could make their way into the human body and disrupt the body's immune system and hormones.
The evidence eventually grew unassailable for one manufacturer. 3M, the Navy's original partner in creating the firefighting foam, left the market after a study showed that some monkeys exposed to even low doses of the type of PFAS in the foam developed enlarged livers and died. 3M decided to stop producing that type of PFAS and eventually stopped producing the foam. But other manufacturers remained in the market, tweaking their formulas to use different kinds of PFAS than the kind examined in the study.
Some states, recognizing the potential dangers of PFAS foams, have moved to ban the use of PFAS in firefighting foams. Others have proposed new regulations on the chemicals. But, despite these efforts, many foams that contain PFAS remain in use today. As legislators and regulators target one type of PFAS, manufacturers simply move to a different type, arguing that it is safer. Research, however, continues to suggest that there is no safe level of PFAS.
What are the dangers of exposure to firefighting foams?
Research has linked exposure to PFAS in firefighting foams to various cancers. PFAS can enter the body and linger for years. Studies show that even low amounts of exposure to the chemical can lead to several cancers, including the following:
- Testicular cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Neuroendocrine tumors
Because cancer can present with many different symptoms, it is important to see your doctor if you have health issues that do not improve after a few weeks.
Animal studies have also linked PFAS to reproductive problems, abnormal fetal development, liver and thyroid problems, immune and hormone issues, and a host of other health problems.
Do I have a firefighting foam case?
Contacting a lawyer is the best way to determine whether you have a case. A lawyer is in the best position to inform you of your legal options and counsel you on your path forward. The experienced lawyers and staff at the Kishish Law Group can help you decide what is right for you and your family. Our initial case evaluations are free and our communications with you will remain confidential. If you developed cancer after using firefighting foam, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact us today by completing our contact form or by calling us toll free at 1 (888) 402-5552.
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Speak with a Firefighting Foam Lawyer
If you used firefighting foam and developed cancer, you may be entitled to substantial compensation.
Reach out to Kishish Law Group immediately to find out your legal options.
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