Aqueous Film-Forming Foam Lawsuit What is, Definition, Meaning

What is the AFFF Lawsuit? (2024)

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Elliot Figueira

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Those who have been exposed to AFFF have the right to file an AFFF lawsuit. This type of firefighting foam saw extensive use due to its effectiveness in oil field accidents, industrial blazes, jet fuel fires, and other demanding firefighting operations. With its thin, aqueous film, the foam crates a barrier that cuts off oxygen and deprives even the most raging fires of fuel. Although AFFF proved to be one of the most effective technological innovations in firefighting history, it may have caused more harm than good in the long run.

Why? Because this foam is filled with polyfluoroalkyl substances – otherwise known as PFAS.

Thanks to widespread media exposure and enlightening films like 2019’s Dark Waters, PFAS now have an infamous reputation in the United States. You may have also heard the term “forever chemicals” – a reference to the human body’s incapability of breaking PFAS down. In fact, the World Economic Forum states that even if you lived forever, your body would spend thousands of years breaking down a single polyfluoroalkyl chain.

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry highlights several potential effects of PFAS exposure:

  • Kidney cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Birth defects
  • Pregnancy issues
  • Leukemia
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Fertility issues
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Lymphoma

An AFFF lawsuit allows firefighters to sue if they have experienced any of these health issues due to suspected foam exposure. Unfortunately, many of these health issues prove fatal – leaving grief-stricken families struggling with unpaid medical bills, missed wages, funeral expenses, and other burdens. Whether AFFF has caused you to suffer an injury or the loss of a loved one, a lawsuit can provide compensation for everything you have been forced to endure.

Firefighters may be reluctant to sue for several reasons. You might assume that you are ineligible if your exposure occurred many years ago. While it’s true that the statute of limitations prevents plaintiffs from suing if they wait too long, this time limit probably doesn’t apply to AFFF exposure. The statute of limitations only applies when you become aware of your own injuries – not the moment of exposure. For example, you might receive a cancer diagnosis decades after you retired from firefighting. In this case, you would still have the right to sue if you act within the next few years after the diagnosis.

Some firefighters might also believe that it is too late, and the damage has already been done. However, a lawsuit can provide your family with valuable compensation – even if you have received a terminal diagnosis. Treatment for cancer and other health issues can be ruinously expensive, and a lawsuit may help your family deal with unpaid medical bills after your passing. If you have been unable to work due to AFFF exposure, a lawsuit may also provide your family with compensation for your lost future wages.

An AFFF lawsuit typically targets the manufacturers of this foam. Various investigations have determined that some of these manufacturers were fully aware of AFFF’s health risks, and yet they continued to market and distribute this product to fire departments across the nation. Numerous manufacturers were responsible for creating AFFF, and many lawsuits have consolidated into class actions to simplify and expedite court proceedings. A class action is a lawsuit with numerous injured parties or “plaintiffs.” With help from lawyers and organizations like Consumer Shield, these plaintiffs can work together more effectively and strive toward positive results.

Thousands of firefighters have joined forces to sue AFFF manufacturers in multi-district litigation (MDL) courts. These manufacturers include some of the biggest corporations in the United States, and many of these companies are valued at tens of billions of dollars. These organizations are fully capable of compensating injured plaintiffs, and although approaching a class action can be daunting, the rewards can be significant.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) is a type of firefighting foam used to extinguish fuel-based fires. AFFF is dangerous because it contains Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), a class of man-made chemicals known as "forever chemicals." These chemicals are resistant to degradation and can persist in the environment and in human bodies for a long time, leading to various health and environmental risks.

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