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Are there any regulations concerning exposure to AFFF?

The widespread public exposure to dangerous levels of PFAS chemicals has prompted the EPA’s release of a PFAS “Action Plan” in February 2019. The plan focused almost exclusively on the perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) the main precursors in AFFF.

answered by Gregory A. Cade

PFAS contamination in the U.S

Hydrocarbon flammable liquid fires can be tough to be put out. That’s why firefighters at military bases along with industrial plants, commercial airports, and firefighting training sites use aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), a highly efficient type of fire suppressant agent. The highly effective foams created by combining foaming agents with fluorinated surfactants cool the fire and coat the fuel, preventing its contact with oxygen, resulting in suppression of the combustion.

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances are the key components in a majority of AFFF. These chemicals which can be mobile, and toxic, are extremely persistent environmental contaminants described as ”forever chemicals”, posing increasingly significant very long-term environmental concerns.

Regulatory Status of PFAS in the U.S.

The manufacture and use of PFOA, PFOS and other similar PFASs have decreased significantly in the United States since EPA settled on a voluntary phase-out agreement in lieu of an enforceable ban between 2000 and 2002. However, the widespread public exposure to dangerous levels of PFAS chemicals has prompted the EPA’s release of a PFAS “Action Plan” in February 2019.

The plan focused almost exclusively on the two primary legacies PFAS chemicals, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), and perfluorooctanic acid (PFOA). In order to protect human health, the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has set a lifetime health advisory level at 70 parts per trillion for both PFOS and PFOA.

Health experts say PFAS are harmful at much lower levels than the EPA health advisory level

In recent years, experts have become increasingly concerned by the potential effects of high concentrations of PFAS on human health. PFAS has been detected in the bloodstream of more than 98% of the population in the U.S., according to a February 2019 EPA study. Relevant studies have identified potential links between PFAS and the following health effects:

  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Low infant birth weights
  • Increase the risk of cancer
  • Interfere with the body’s natural hormones
  • Liver injury
  • Thyroid hormone disruption
  • Increased cholesterol levels

Our attorneys provide quality legal assistance to the victims of AFFF exposure

With over 25 years of experience in pursuing compensation for the victims of toxic exposure, our attorneys will gladly help you obtain the money you are entitled to if you were regularly exposed to AFFF and developed cancer.

We can only provide legal assistance to military personnel, airport employees, and other workers who were exposed to PFAS-containing foam. You can trust Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. to meet your case needs with step-by-step guidance and easy communication.

Our attorneys will help you gather sufficient evidence to support the link between your disease and exposure to PFOS and PFOA in AFFF and will eventually file a lawsuit against the liable company. Within several months to one year, you will receive the compensation you deserve for your physical and emotional suffering.

Other related questions

A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed with the help of a specialized attorney by the surviving family members of a victim of AFFF exposure.

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Disability compensation for exposure to AFFF is available only for firefighters who served in the military. However, civilian firefighters can also recover compensation by filing a lawsuit against the company which manufactured the product.

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If you were exposed to AFFF by living in close proximity to a military base, which used the product, you do not qualify for compensation, as only firefighters and military personnel can take legal action.

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Although the PFOS and PFOA in AFFF can be harmful to the human body in any amount, exposure needs to occur for several years for a person to develop cancer.

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Exposure to PFOS and PFOA, the toxic chemicals in AFFF, can lead to the development of multiple serious diseases over the years, including kidney cancer and bladder cancer.

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The most accurate method to determine whether you have been exposed to chemicals is environmental monitoring, which is done by measuring the concentration of a chemical in the air and the duration of exposure to it.

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AFFF has been used for the last 50 years to extinguish class B fires by both civilian and military firefighters, as it is very effective. However, it contains PFOS and PFOA, two groups of dangerous chemicals.

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The duration of the legal process in cases of AFFF exposure can range between several months to one year, depending on how many companies are responsible for your exposure, as well as on the severity of your diagnosis.

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There are over 1.1 million volunteer and career firefighters throughout the country, out of which approximately 20% develop cancer as a result of AFFF exposure.

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Factors affecting compensation depend on the severity and circumstances of the exposure. Diagnosis of the condition associated with AFFF exposure is one of the primary factors used to start the case.

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