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Can firefighters access VA disability due to AFFF exposure?

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.

answered by Gregory A. Cade

Veterans harmed by PFAS chemicals eligible for disability payments and medical treatment from the VA

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has accepted that veterans may have been affected by exposure to PFOS and PFOA. The agency of the federal government has added per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances to its list of possible military exposures and asks veterans to report any health problems associated with exposure to firefighting foam in all military facilities.

Consequently, veterans who have been harmed by toxic AFFF exposure may file a claim for disability compensation for health problems they believe are related to in-service exposure to the chemicals.

To receive disability benefits on these grounds, it is necessary to satisfy the elements of service connection, including:

  • a current, diagnosed disability
  • military records
  • medical records, which must state the causal link between your diagnosis and PFAS exposure

Only firefighters who served in the military are eligible for compensation both from the responsible company and the VA

If you are a firefighter who was exposed to AFFF while serving in the military and developed a related disease, you can apply for disability compensation from the VA with the help of a specialized attorney, as the process is quite complex and challenging to pursue on your own. However, civilian firefighters are not eligible for disability compensation from the VA, as they did not serve in the military.

With the assistance of a lawyer whose main area of practice is toxic exposure, you can recover the compensation you deserve if you were exposed to AFFF in the military as a firefighter and came to struggle with a disease such as:

Furthermore, if you were exposed to AFFF in the military, you can also file a lawsuit against the company which manufactured the hazardous product. It is important to know that this will not affect your right to disability compensation from the VA. Moreover, if you were exposed to chemical-based firefighting foam during your service, you are also eligible for compensation both from the responsible company and the VA.

We provide quality legal assistance to firefighters injured by AFFF exposure in the military

Since 1990, our law firm has been helping the victims of toxic exposure and their family members recover the compensation they deserved for the diseases they had developed as a consequence of exposure to harmful agents.

If you are a firefighter who was exposed to AFFF in the military and now struggle with a related disease, we will help you file a claim against the liable company, as well as a claim with the VA to receive disability benefits or compensation.

While the legal process is very complex, your involvement will be minimal, as your attorney will carefully attend to every aspect of the legal process on your behalf. You will only have to provide them with your military and medical records, documents which will be used as evidence of AFFF exposure and of related diagnosis. Eventually, you will recover the compensation you are entitled to, which will also help you afford superior healthcare and treatment for your disease.

Other related questions

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.

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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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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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If you developed a disease following exposure to AFFF, you have the legal right to file a lawsuit against the company which manufactured the product you regularly used.

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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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