The firefighting suppressant, aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) works by coating a fuel source with a thick layer of foam, blocking the oxygen supply so that firefighters can better extinguish fires. Exposure to AFFF, however, may harm the firefighters exposed, as well as damage the environment into which it is discharged. Firefighting foams commonly contain polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFAS), or perfluorinated chemicals, which are alleged to be toxic.
Military bases, manufacturing facilities, wastewater treatment plants, fuel-spill sites and other locations have been identified as sources of PFAS contamination throughout the country. Communities near these locations that have suffered damages to property, natural resources and health are entitled to pursue compensation and accountability from wrongdoers.
Communities near these sites have allegedly suffered a heightened need for medical monitoring, personal injuries, property damage, and economic losses due to the discharge of toxic AFFF chemicals into the environment. The MDL court is presiding over more than 75 lawsuits filed by people who live near sites where AFFFs were used, governmental entities, including municipalities and local water authorities, and individual personal injury claims.
Local governments, including counties, towns and cities may have claims if their local water source or soil is contaminated by AFFF. RileyCate, LLC attorney William Riley has a history of representing states, counties and municipalities in navigating complex litigations. If you believe you may have a claim, contact attorney William Riley by email or call 1.317-588-2866.
AFFF Health Hazards
PFAS chemicals can move through soil, contaminate groundwater, and be dispersed through the air, allowing the chemicals to migrate long distances from the original source, according to the CDC. The chemicals are water soluble and do not break down. They are also bio-accumulative, meaning the chemicals build up over time in humans and animals and contaminate their blood. Exposure to the chemicals may cause an increased risk of cancer and other adverse health effects.
According to the CDC, studies have shown that people exposed to PFAS are at an increased risk for a number of severe side effects, including:
- Increased risk for certain cancers
- Reduced chances of pregnancy
- Growth, behavioral effects in infants and older children
- Resistance to childhood vaccines
- Increased cholesterol levels
AFFF Exposure Background
The Department of Defense began using AFFF in the 1970s to extinguish petroleum-based fires. The foam was also used extensively in firefighting training on military bases.
Complex equipment used to apply AFFF requires repeated training, increasing the likelihood of contamination in nearby communities and environments. It is the confirmed or suspected cause of most PFAS contaminations near airport installations.
Several companies manufacture AFFF and sell it to the U.S. military and civilians for use at airports, including 3M, Angus Fire, The Ansul Co., the Buckeye Fire Protection Co., Chemguard, Chemours, National Foam, Tyco Fire Products, and United Technologies Corp., and others.
Military Times (Nov. 20, 2019): The list of military sites with suspected ‘forever chemicals’ contamination has grown
NPR (Feb. 14, 2019): EPA Says It Plans To Limit Toxic PFAS Chemicals, But Not Soon Enough For Critics
CNN (Feb. 14, 2019): What are PFAS chemicals, and what are they doing to our health?
The Intercept (Feb. 10, 2018): The U.S. military is spending millions to replace toxic firefighting foam with toxic firefighting foam