Chemicals in aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) or "firefighting foam" may cause various types of cancer. If you were a firefighter or regularly exposed to AFFF and recently diagnosed with kidney, pancreatic, prostate, or testicular cancer, you may be able to file a lawsuit and get financial compensation.
The Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (JPMDL) has ordered the transfer of all federal lawsuits into the United States Federal Court in the District of South Carolina. In other words, all AFFF firefighting foam cancer lawsuits will be handled by a single federal judge. The hope is that this is the first step towards a global firefighting foam settlement.Firefighting Foam Linked to Cancer
AFFF (firefighting foam) is a special foam substance that has been used for decades to put out petroleum-based fires. AFFF contains polyfluoroalkyl materials which are known as "PFAS."
PFAS are chemical compounds containing fluorine and carbon. PFAS chemicals are resistant to heat and very effective at extinguishing class b fires fueled by accelerants such as gasoline, cooking oils, paint and kerosene or other petroleum products.
Unfortunately, PFAS do not biodegrade and these chemicals will bind to proteins and accumulate in the bodies of humans in animals who are exposed to them. They can remain in the body for long periods of time.
PFAS have long been known to be a potential environmental contaminant. In fact, AFFF can get into drinking water and cause PFAS contamination. Recently, however, PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam have been linked to certain types of cancer as a result of exposure. In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a health advisory report warning that laboratory animal studies confirmed that exposure to PFAS can cause kidney and testicular cancer along with other adverse health effects.
Soon after, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) performed several studies on PFAS and concluded that individuals who are regularly exposed to PFAS chemicals have an increased risk of developing kidney, prostate, and testicular cancer. The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reached the same finding and identified PFAS in firefighting foam as a human carcinogen.AFFF Firefighting Foam Cancer - Who Has Been Exposed
Any individual with long-term, occupational exposure to firefighting foam could be at risk of developing cancer from exposure to PFAS. This would include firefighters, airport workers, chemical industry workers, and military service members. Although, these case may be referred to as a "firefighting foam lawsuit," the greatest number of claimants are former and active member of our military.
Scientists are still learning more and more about AFFF exposure and the individuals who developed cancer. Our firefighting foam lawyers are regularly monitoring scientific developments that will illustrate whether those who were exposed, developed cancer and the link between the two. Please call us today if you have an AFFF foam cancer claim.Cancers Caused By AFFF Firefighting Foam
Any of the following cancers might be linked to AFFF firefighting foam:
- Pancreatic cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Breast cancer
- Liver cancer
- Bladder caner
- Ovarian cancer
- Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
- Testicular cancer
- Prostate cancer
It is essential you contact an experienced mass tort lawyer to potentially file an AFFF foam lawsuit to preserve your rights and potential for financial recourse. The chemicals in AFFF firefighting foam have been proven to be carcinogenic. AFFF foam cancer claims continue to grow as more individuals learn of the link between their diagnosis of cancer and previous exposure to AFFF. In fact, there are presently over 1500 firefighting foam cancer lawsuits that have been filed.Firefighting Foam Lawsuits Are Being Filed
Fire fighting foam containing the harmful PFAS has been manufactured by many different companies over the years. The 2 biggest makers of AFFF were 3M and DuPont. There is now evidence to indicate that these companies were aware of the dangers posed by PFAS.
By the mid-1970s, 3M and several other major manufacturers of AFFF were already well aware that the PFAS chemicals in AFFF were toxic to the environment. By the early 1990s, these companies were also becoming aware that PFAS may have adverse health effects in humans, including increased cancer rates.
Firefighting foam lawsuits are being filed around the country against these manufacturers. Hundreds of AFFF lawsuits have already been filed and those in federal court have already been consolidated into an MDL class action in South Carolina. An AFFF foam lawsuit will allege that 3M, DuPont, and other companies knowingly sold their AFFF products despite the known health risks.
How long with the AFFF firefighting foam cases take to reach a settlement? That is a good question and the answer is similar to the expected settlement amount question. It is speculation. The firefighter class action lawsuit is fluid in nature and we will continue to keep readers of this site updated on any new developments. If history is a guide, we can expect an AFFF class-action lawsuit settlement in the next 12-24 months.Who Can File a Firefighting Foam Lawsuit?
To qualify as a plaintiff for an AFFF lawsuit, our law firm requires that you meet two basic criteria:
- Exposure to PFAS: prospective plaintiffs must be able to show that they used or were otherwise exposed to firefighting foam on a regular basis over a prolonged time. If you regularly used AFFF as part of your job (e.g., firefighter, airport maintenance crew, factory worker, etc.) you should be able to satisfy this requirement without any issue.
- Cancer: exposure to PFAS in firefighting foam alone is not enough to have a valid claim. Prospective plaintiffs in AFFF lawsuits will need to show that they were diagnosed with certain types of cancer after their prolonged AFFF exposure. The types of cancer that are most strongly linked to firefighting foam are kidney and testicular cancer. Pancreatic and prostate cancer have also been connected to AFFF use.
The AFF lawsuits will eventually end in some type of global, mass-tort settlement agreement orchestrated by firefighting foam lawyers that sit on the AFFF MDL Steering Committee. In this type of settlement, the defendants agree to pay a large amount of money into a global settlement fund. That money is then paid out to the individual plaintiffs based on a tiered basis. Plaintiffs in the top tier (those with the most serious injuries) get a higher amount and those plaintiffs in the 2nd and 3rd tiers receive smaller settlement payments.
In the AFFF firefighting foam cancer cases, the top tier plaintiffs will likely include those individuals with long term occupational exposure AND diagnosis with the most dangerous types of cancer linked to PFAS (pancreatic or kidney ). The second-tier will probably include plaintiffs with long term occupational exposure and diagnosis with a less dangerous type of AFFF-linked cancer (testicular or prostate). The third-tier (and lower) will cover those plaintiffs with less evidence of exposure or use of AFFF and/or plaintiffs with less serious injuries such as liver damage.
What can we expect AFF lawsuit settlement amounts to be? That question is a moving target and, at this point, pure speculation.
Yet lawyers talk about settlement values of cases and we will share out speculation with you. Based on global settlements in prior mass tort cases, our attorneys anticipate that the top tier plaintiffs in the AFFF settlement will get somewhere between $200,000 to $500,000. Second tier plaintiffs could expect to receive a settlement in the range of $150,000 to $300,000. Third tier and lower will probably receive settlements of $75,000 or less.
Stating the obvious again: this is naked speculation. You will not truly know the settlement value of an AFFF foam lawsuit until there is a settlement. But we can use the injuries and similar type mass tort cases in the past to make an effort to project what these settlement values might be.Contact Miller & Zois to File Your Firefighting Foam Lawsuit
We are currently accepting new firefighting foam cases from clients who meet the following criteria:
- Occupational exposure to AFFF (firefighting foam) for at least 1 year; and
- Diagnosis with one of the following types of cancer: pancreatic, testicular, prostate, kidney.
If you meet these criteria contact us immediately to get your AFFF claim filed as soon as possible. You may be entitled to participate in the AFFF lawsuit settlement if you have developed cancer as a result of AFFF foam exposure. Our firefighting foam lawyers stand ready to assist your potential claim. Call 800-553-8082 today.Not All Law Firms Are The Same
Miller & Zois is a nationally recognized personal injury and civil trial firm. Our lawyers have over 150 years of combined experience representing individuals who have been harmed by the negligence exhibited by an individual or corporation.
Fellow lawyers often bring our law firm in on their biggest or most complicated cases based on our significant trial experience and vast financial resources.
Laura Zois is a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates; the nation's most exclusive and prestigious group of trial lawyers. In fact, the Inner Circle of Advocates limits its membership to 100 of the nation's most feared trial lawyers and is by invitation only.
Ronald Miller is a highly regarded trial lawyer, a Professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law and is the co-author of Insurance Settlements, a two-volume treatise from James Publishing. Miller & Zois has been selected by U.S. News & World Reports as one of the nation's top law firms.
At the end of the day, insurance carriers know of our reputation and willingness to take cases to trial if and when necessary.