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Who is at high risk of exposure to AFFF?

Firefighters and military personnel who regularly use AFFF, whether in training or during service, are most at risk to develop cancer and other severe health issues because of exposure to the dangerous chemical compounds found in firefighting aqueous film-forming foam.

answered by Gregory A. Cade

Firefighters most commonly exposed to AFFF and the chemicals it contains

Because the PFOS and PFOA, two groups of dangerous chemicals, are present in AFFF, those who are exposed to it for a long time are at high risk of developing certain cancers. However, it is worthy of note that these diseases occur after several years following exposure to AFFF.

Because they use AFFF on a regular basis while performing their job, firefighters are susceptible to develop a disease as a result of exposure. Firefighters all over America have used AFFF without any knowledge of its potentially harmful properties for decades. Carcinogenic PFAS chemicals in AFFF can be absorbed through the skin and inhaled leading to a buildup in the body which causes health problems.

Firefighters that have used AFFF to put out fires came into regular contact with potentially harmful substances despite wearing protective gear. These substances get on their equipment which is often handled without protective gear and then absorbed into the body.

Military personnel who regularly use AFFF is at a very high risk of developing serious health issues

In addition to the civilian firefighters, military personnel in all service branches are also at a very high risk of developing serious health issues caused by AFFF exposure. In the 1970s, the Department of Defense began using AFFF, which contained high concentrations of PFAS, to extinguish hydrocarbon fuel fires. The foam has the unique property of forming an aqueous film on the fuel surface that prevents evaporation and reignition of the fuel once it has been extinguished by the foam. Unfortunately, AFFF manufacturers knew the dangers the chemicals in their products posed but negligently concealed its dangerous effects and failed to warn the military.

Consequently, those that work as firefighters in all four branches of the military are at a very high risk of developing cancer caused by AFFF exposure. The United States Armed Forces have been using firefighting foam, specifically aqueous film-forming foam, since the 1960s. Much like civilian firefighters, they may have been exposed even outside of actual firefighting emergencies when training in AFFF use.

Recovering compensation as a victim of AFFF exposure

If you are a firefighter or someone who has been using AFFF in the military and came to struggle with a disease as a result of exposure, you are eligible for compensation from the company which manufactured the hazardous product.

With over 25 years of experience in pursuing compensation for the victims of toxic exposure, our attorneys will help you file a lawsuit against the liable company so that you can obtain the financial compensation you deserve for your diagnosis.

Even though the legal process is complex and tedious, your involvement will be minimal, as you will only have to provide your attorney with your employment or military records, which must state that you worked with AFFF, as well as with your medical records, which need to state your diagnosis and how it is related to exposure to PFOS and PFOA. Afterward, your lawyer will begin preparing your case, while our legal experts will conduct in-depth research to find additional evidence to support your lawsuit. Eventually, you will receive the compensation you are entitled to, which usually takes between several months to one year.

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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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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