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About The Fire Fighting Foam Lawsuit
3M and DuPont, two of the world’s largest chemical manufacturers, are now involved in multi-district litigation over lawsuits claiming that they exposed individuals to grave danger when they manufactured aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs), and both perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), two substances used to make AFFFs. PFOA and PFOS are part of a highly resistant group of substances, called the “forever chemicals”, that are able to linger in the environment and in the human body for extremely long periods of time since they do not degrade by themselves. Both PFOA and PFOS are extremely toxic to humans and have been linked to various diseases and types of cancers.
A Toxic History
PFOA and PFOS were first manufactured in the 1940s to use in coating for various products, but it was not until 1960 when 3M created the infamous AFFFs. AFFFs were quickly adopted by the military, airports, refineries, and fire departments worldwide. Ten 10 years later, PFAS (the substance type that includes PFOA and PFOS) was found in blood samples of occupationally exposed workers, and not long after that, the US Air Force and Navy started to notice that AFFFs were toxic to the environment . Nevertheless, AFFFs were still used and praised for their effectives at putting out liquid-fueled fires.
The problem with going decades without stopping the use of AFFFs containing PFAS is that these chemicals are extremely persistent in the environment, and when they come in contact with the human body, they will not leave any time soon. Multiple decades of exposure to a chemical that does not degrade catalyzed the widespread presence of PFAS in blood samples of the general population. Firefighters, however, are particularly at risk of being exposed, since they are using AFFFs when putting out fires and, as a result, come directly in contact with air containing PFOA/PFOS. Firefighters take in one of these substances through inhalation, contact with the skin, and/or pores . Individuals who are exposed to PFAS are likely to be compromised for years, as these substances are able to bind to blood proteins and remain in the human body for extended periods of time.
image courtesy daytondailynews.com
The EPA’s Verdict
After the danger PFOA and PFOS posed was understood, various studies were conducted to understand the impact these substances had on both humans and animals. Occupational exposure studies that took place in 3M plants identified the likely effects of PFOA and PFOS, including, but not limited, to changes in cholesterol and triglycerides. Studies that examined contaminated communities and the general population also found a link between PFOS and PFOA with higher total cholesterol, as well as a wider array of effects such as, increased difficulty in having pregnancy, undesired effects during pregnancy, unnatural changes in thyroid hormones, increased liver enzymes, lower presence of some antibodies, increased asthma severity, ulcerative colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, cerebral palsy, and more. Moreover, PFOA or PFOS (in some cases both substances) were also linked to multiple types of cancer and tumors such as liver tumors, thyroid follicular cell tumors, Leydig cell tumors, ovarian tumors, kidney cancer, testicular cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian tubular hyperplasia, and others.
Other studies have been conducted in Nordic countries observing firefighters specifically, and those studies have found an even more unsettling pattern. One study conducted in Sweden found that firefighters suffered from non-melanoma skin cancer at a higher rate than the rest of the Swedish population. Another Nordic study found that firefighters suffered from all cancer types studied at higher rates than the rest of the population, particularly from prostate cancer and skin melanoma cancer.
Although the 500 lawsuits filed over AFFFs have just been recently consolidated under an MDL and no settlements have been reached, both 3M and DuPont have already settled on claims over PFAS contamination in the past. If both 3M’s and DuPont’s settlements, $850 million and $670 million respectively, are any indication of what may come in terms of financial compensation, firefighters remain optimistic as they are likely to get justly compensated for the wrongdoings they have experienced.
Do You Have Any Of These Conditions?
If you are (or know of a loved one who is) a firefighter who, served prior to 2003, was exposed to AFFFs, and suffers from any of the following conditions, you may be entitled to compensation:
- High total cholesterol
- Increased time to pregnancy
- Reduced fecundity
- Gestational diabetes
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension
- Changes in thyroid hormones
- Elevated liver enzymes
- Lower presence of antibodies
- Increased asthma severity
- Ulcerative colitis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Cerebral palsy
Cancers And Tumors
If you are (or know of a loved one who is) a firefighter who was exposed to AFFFs, and suffers from any of the following cancers or types of tumors, you may be entitled to compensation:
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Ovarian tubular hyperplasia
- Leydig cell tumors
- Thyroid follicular cell tumors
AFFF Firefighter Foam Cancer Lawsuit
Our team at Oppenheim Law recognizes the emotional burden these conditions and cancers can have on individuals and their lives. That is why our firm provides a team of professionals committed to zealously represent our clients.
Please feel free to contact us 24/7 at (954) 384-6114 so we can inform you of your legal rights so you can obtain the compensation to which you are entitled.
From the Trenches,
Oppenheim Law | Firefighting Foam Lawsuit Attorneys
2500 Weston Rd #209
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33331
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