Firefighters put their lives at risk to save and protect others. But new information is showing that the military knew about the risks of using a chemical-based foam called Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF).
Many service members have suffered from cancer due to this foam, which has been in use for decades now. Tragically, many firefighters were told the foam was just harmless soap and water. They didn’t know they should keep the foam away from themselves and others.
Problems with AFFF Fire Fighting Foam
AFFF has been in use for fighting fires since the 1970s. But now we know it contains PFAS, a chemical that the EPA warns is causing harmful health effects for both people and animals.
PFAS is in many products, but firefighters were not warned that it was present in AFFF foam and that they should be careful about how and where to use the foam. After five decades of using the foam, drinking water and groundwater are now contaminated in some areas. As a result, it’s threatening the food supply.
Because there were no warnings for AFFF, firefighters used the foam to clean trucks, take showers, and other use cases around the fire station.
In 2021, Spotlight on America uncovered emails dated as early as 2013 that documented concerns about PFAS in AFFF, as the chemicals might pose risks to human health. And it wasn’t until 2015 that authorities told firefighters to stop using the foam during daily tests and drills. Only later did guidelines state that the foam should only be used in emergency situations.
Finally, in 2016, firefighters were instructed to use other means to put out fires, noting that there were safer alternatives for the environment and human health.
But many years went by when authorities knew that AFFF posed risks to those using it and to the environment. And that’s why there are pending lawsuits concerning the firefighting foam.
What Is a Product Liability Case?
Product manufacturers, marketers, and distributors all have a responsibility to alert the general public about the risks of using products. With AFFF fire fighting foam, there should have been information shared about the dangers of the PFAS chemical that’s in the foam.
Knowing this information would have changed how the firefighters used the foam and would have aided in protecting water supplies and prevented firefighters from using the foam for other activities, such as showers and cleaning trucks.
When a product harms consumers or the product’s users, the company can be held responsible. Because the military knew that the foam presented health challenges three years before restricting its use, the Department of Defense can be held accountable for those who suffer from cancer due to PFAS exposure.
The Department of Defense was negligent in its handling of the case because it failed to alert AFFF users that the foam could be toxic. For those reasons, firefighters who used the foam and suffer from cancer in connection with the foam might have a lawsuit against the Department of Defense.
However, not all cancer is necessarily related to the use of AFFF fire fighting foam. A blood test can show whether you are suffering from elevated levels of PFAS (the dangerous chemical in the foam).
Reach Out Now for a Free AFFF Foam Case Review
If you believe you might be a victim of this harmful product, you should speak with an attorney immediately. Your attorney can review the case details to determine whether your circumstances might make you eligible for a lawsuit in the AFFF fire fighting foam case.
This year, Stewart & Stewart proudly celebrates our 40th anniversary of treating clients like family. Schedule a free consultation with Stewart & Stewart to learn more about product liability and for a free case review of the details surrounding your use of AFFF fire fighting foam.