The Firefighter PFAS Injury Compensation Act Seeks to Provide Timely Payment to Affected Firefighters

Michael Bartlett

By Michael Bartlett

Posted on May 28th, 2024

On March 21, 2024, Senator Cory Booker and Representative Darren Soto introduced the legislation known as the Firefighter PFAS Injury Compensation Act to offer payment to firefighters struggling with injuries caused by occupational toxic exposure.

By now, it is a known fact that AFFF, the firefighting foam, contains PFAS, exposure to which can result in cancers of the kidney, testicle, liver, prostate, bladder, pancreas, breast, colon, and ovary; as well as all thyroid diseases (including hyper and hypo thyroidism, Hashimoto's disease, and Grave's disease) and ulcerative colitis. Since 1966, this fire suppressant has been widely used by civilian and military firefighters nationwide to extinguish Class B fires, which stem from combustible and flammable liquids and gases. Today, cancer is a leading cause of death among this occupational group, and PFAS exposure might be a significant contributor to this disheartening statistic.

Known as the Firefighter PFAS Injury Compensation Act, Senate Bill 4013 is meant to establish a program to compensate firefighters suffering from health problems linked to PFAS exposure during their occupational activities. They can develop medical conditions both from AFFF exposure and from inhaling and ingesting PFAS released by their very own turnout gear. It is worth noting that if it becomes effective, the program would also provide compensation to firefighters who lost their lives to PFAS exposure.

The program shall be established by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. These are the most important provisions of this bill, which firefighters who intend to apply for compensation should keep in mind:

  • Claim submission: Eligible firefighters must submit a claim form provided by the Secretary. They must offer information about their health condition stemming from PFAS exposure, such as proof and date of diagnosis, years of service as a firefighter, and any special circumstances that might support a more substantial award.
  • Eligibility: A claimant must have worked as a firefighter for two or more years and struggle with a health condition related to PFAS exposure. These medical conditions include cancer of the kidney, testicle, prostate, liver, bladder, pancreas, breast, colon, and ovary, as well as thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, and any other conditions the Secretary finds appropriate.
  • Time limitations: Eligible firefighters can submit a claim from the moment the regulations become final. They have up to two years after the regulations are finalized or up to two years after the death of the firefighter, if applicable, whichever is later, to submit their claim.
  • Claim review: The Secretary will review every claim to determine compensation, which is based on the firefighter's years of service and the nature of their PFAS-related medical condition. Furthermore, the Secretary must provide a claim determination, including an award amount no later than 120 days after claim submission.
  • Claim limitations: A firefighter can receive compensation for just one cancer and one non-cancer health condition. Eligible claimants may submit only one claim, but that claim can include multiple health conditions. Moreover, claimants are allowed to amend and supplement their claims if they need to provide more information or include more health conditions.
  • Payments to eligible firefighters: The Secretary must pay compensation to the claimants from the PFAS Trust Fund, which is subject to certain limitations. Claims must be paid no later than 20 days after award determination.

Finally, it is noteworthy that firefighters injured by PFAS exposure who intend to seek financial compensation under the Firefighter PFAS Injury Compensation Act of 2024 have the right to legal representation. Because the process of filing a claim is often time-consuming and demanding, a skilled attorney can efficiently accomplish the job with little involvement on the claimant's part.

Our experienced attorneys can help firefighters injured by PFAS exposure obtain compensation

Firefighting foam and toxic exposure on military bases

With over 35 years of experience in pursuing compensation for toxic exposure victims, our skilled legal team is ready to offer you the assistance you are looking for. If you worked with AFFF and developed a health condition related to PFAS exposure, you might be entitled to financial compensation, which our diligent attorneys can help you recover. To initiate the legal process, all you need to do is provide us with your employment and medical records.

After a careful and thorough assessment of your case, our attorneys will determine whether you qualify to file a claim. If you do, we will go to great lengths to obtain the money you deserve for your physical and emotional distress on your behalf. Our compassionate legal team will ensure you can navigate the process with minimal involvement, as we are well aware of the pain firefighters affected by PFAS exposure are often in.