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Firefighting Foam Linked to Cancer

If you are a firefighter, you are familiar with aqueous film-forming foam. It is a great fire suppressant used on petroleum-based fires. The foam creates a film that smothers the fire, knocking it down. But, this firefighting foam is also dangerous. AFFF contains chemicals linked to certain types of cancer.

AFFF firefighting foam cancer lawsuits

Petrolium-Based Fires

Water is ineffective against certain types of fire. The first aqueous film-forming foam was introduced in the early 1900s. A Russian engineer and chemist developed firefighting foam for petroleum-based fires.

Dangerous Chemicals

Modern firefighting foams have evolved. New foams are manufactured with certain toxic chemicals, PFOS and PFOA. These chemicals are classified as PFAS. PFAS is an acronym for polyfluoroalkyl substances. PFAS are a specific group of about 9,000 man-made chemicals also known as “forever chemicals.” Learn more about PFAS on the EPA website.

Man-Made Chemicals

PFAS are toxic to the liver, thyroid, and immune system. Additionally, they are known to cause cancer. PFAS are not only found in aqueous film-forming foam, they are also present in many everyday items. Things such as microwave popcorn, candy wrappers, and nonstick cookware contain PFAS. 

PFAS Link To Cancer

There is significant research that confirms a link between PFAS and cancer. Not only is this chemical substance likely to cause cancer, but research shows it has an effect on the mortality rate of cancer as well. This is especially true for kidney cancer.

Level of PFAS Exposure

Higher levels of kidney cancer are found among individuals with high levels of exposure to PFAS. Additionally, there is a higher mortality rate for kidney cancer among these individuals. Risk for developing cancer due to PFAS depends on the level of exposure. 

firefighter exposed to dangerous chemicals

Cancers Linked to PFAS

Certain kinds of cancer are common due to exposure to PFAS. These cancers include, but are not limited to:

  • bladder cancer
  • breast cancer
  • kidney cancer
  • leukemia
  • lymphoma (Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s)
  • neuroendocrine tumors
  • thyroid cancer
  • pancreatic cancer
  • prostate cancer
  • testicular cancer 

Forever Chemicals

Avoiding this toxic foam may help you avoid cancer. However, firefighters aren’t the only people exposed. This chemical is also found in well water, especially in areas close to fire departments. PFAS are called “forever chemicals” because they do not break down over time. These chemicals also collect and build up in the human body.

Unknown Risks

The problem with firefighting foam cancer is that those exposed weren’t aware of the risks. Companies manufacturing the foam didn’t care about your health. These companies just wanted to make money. The companies didn’t care about the human cost of using their firefighting foam.

Failure to Warn

Companies producing firefighting foam knew the dangers associated with the use of their product. But, they did not properly warn people that may use or come in contact with it.

High-Risk Occupations 

Firefighters are not the only people exposed to PFAS in firefighting foam. Other occupations using of aqueous film-forming foam that have PFAS chemicals. Those exposed include, but are not limited to:

  • firefighters
  • military workers 
  • airport workers
  • chemical plant workers
  • aqueous film-forming foam manufacturers 
  • people that live in close vicinity to fire departments, fire training facilities, chemical plants, and more
cancer risk for people living near chemical production facilities

Discontinued Use

Due to the unhealthy nature of this chemical, many have stopped using this type of firefighting foam. Military programs are in the process of phasing out the use of aqueous film-forming foam due to the many health risks it poses.

If You Have Cancer Linked to Firefighting Foam

If you believe that you have developed cancer or other illness due to firefighting foam exposure, talk to a product liability lawyer. You may be entitled to compensation for your suffering.

Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawyer

At Kane and Silverman we want to help you and your family. We are committed to protecting your rights. Our legal team works hard so you get the best possible outcome. For a free, confidential evaluation of your case, call us at 215-232-1000 or use our online contact form. We are here to help.