Firefighting foam linked to cancer, is also known as aqueous film-forming foam or AFFF and has been used since the 1950s. AFFF is used to put out fires—often where oil or other flammable liquids were involved in fueling the fire. AFFF is composed of a number of chemicals such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA or C8) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), together known as Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). This foam spreads over the surface of the fire, and over the surface of the flammable liquids to contain the explosive vapors produced by them. PFAS are extremely heat resistant and repel oil, so they are used in a number of commercial settings outside of firefighting foam, such as Teflon, and other non-stick cookware.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, PFAS are “persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don’t break down and they can accumulate over time, leading to serious contamination. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects.”
AFFF Lawsuits Are Being Filed
Lawsuits have been filed against such companies as Tyco Fire Products, Chemguard, National Foam, and Buckeye Fire Equipment alleging that manufacturers of AFFF, the foam linked to cancer, knew of the extremely dangerous nature of the PFAS since at least the 1970s but failed to warn consumers. Further, they continued to produce and market the toxic products to our firefighters and first responders. One lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York states, that the Plaintiffs “…seek to hold Defendants accountable for this callous and tortious conduct; conduct that unfolded over the course of several decades and has endangered the health and safety of some of New York’s bravest citizens.”
Types of Cancer Associated with AFFF
Plaintiffs in these lawsuits allege that firefighters, including military firefighters and airport firefighters, first responders and others exposed to PFAS via direct contact with firefighting foam or contamination from the foam are at elevated risk for certain types of cancers. These include:
- Testicular cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Kidney or renal cancer
- Breast cancer
- Liver cancer
We are Here to Help
If you or a family member has been exposed to firefighter foam and have been diagnosed with one of these cancers, the attorneys at Lacy Katzen LLP may be able to help; please contact us today. We have successfully represented injured individuals and their families for over 72 years.