Firefighters are 1.5 times more likely to develop non-Hodgkin's lymphoma than the general population
A large study of 70,000 people living in the Mid-Ohio Valley from the medical journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that a high concentration of PFOA in the blood is linked to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. PFOA is one of the most known chemicals from the PFAS group and has a strong association with multiple cancers. After excluding a series of cases, researchers analyzed a final data set of 7,869 Ohio cases and 17,238 West Virginia cases of 18 cancer categories, including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. They found that the chances of developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma for Little Hocking residents were elevated, in addition to discovering a high risk of:
Little Hocking in West Virginia was the area where people had the worst PFOA exposure. It is important to note that researchers observed that the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma risk increased with the frequency and severity of the exposure.
A recent study from SAGE Journals revealed that while the U.S. average incidence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was 0.90, the incidence of this cancer for people exposed to PFAS in Sanford, Maine, was 1.06. Furthermore, researchers found that residents of Bennington, Vermont, had a significantly higher risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma caused by PFAS exposure. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has recently determined that, between 2008 and 2019, Merrimack residents experienced a high risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma compared to the rest of the state. A major contributor to the prevalence of this cancer was PFAS exposure.
There is a stronger body of research connecting PFAS exposure to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
The Environmental Working Group also conducted a study on multiple PFAS with the purpose of establishing whether they have the key characteristics of carcinogens. The researchers sought evidence of ten carcinogenic traits in animal, cell, and human studies of approximately two dozen PFAS. The study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, concluded that PFAS can act as cancer-causing agents. The mechanisms by which they can lead to cancer, including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, are:
- changing DNA structure
- weakening the immune system
- inducing chronic inflammation
- causing cells to spread uncontrollably
- altering communication between cells
- disrupt biological activity as a whole
The study found that PFOA and PFOS had five characteristics of carcinogens each. "We found that every single one of them exhibited at least one of the key characteristics of carcinogens," said toxicologist Alexis Temkin of the Environmental Working Group, which carried out the study with researchers from Indiana University.
Misdiagnosis, a very common phenomenon among firefighters with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma exposed to PFAS
On average, even among hematopathologists, the frequency of lymphoma misdiagnosis is nearly 10%. When it comes to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma caused by PFAS exposure, the misdiagnosis rate is even higher, which is why civilian and military firefighters who believe they have this cancer but were diagnosed with another disease or condition should look for a second and even a third opinion. Being examined by different medical specialists is crucial, as having a wrong diagnosis will affect not only your prognosis and treatment effectiveness but also your compensation eligibility.
The following are some of the diseases and conditions non-Hodgkin's lymphoma might be mistaken for by doctors:
- autoimmune disorders
- Rosai-Dorfman disease
- drug hypersensitivity reactions
- Kikuchi's disease
- Hodgkin's lymphoma
Firefighters who have one of these diagnoses will not qualify for filing a claim for AFFF exposure, as, except for leukemia, none makes a person eligible for compensation. Moreover, there are other requirements civilian and military firefighters exposed to PFAS must meet in order to become entitled to financial compensation. Therefore, you should contact our law firm only when you have a diagnosis that renders you eligible to file a claim for AFFF exposure, but if you have any questions, please feel free to give us a call, and we will gladly help you.