Firefighting Foam May Cause Cancer

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Firefighting foam has been used since the 1950s. Manufacturers use dangerous chemicals known as PFAS Perfluorooctanoic acid to make firefighting foam.

However, PFAS may cause firefighters to develop:

  • Kidney cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Neuroendocrine tumors
  • Prostate cancer

You may be able to seek compensation through a firefighting foam lawsuit if PFAS caused your cancer.

Firefighting Foam & Cancer

Chemical-based firefighting foam has been sold for decades because of its effectiveness in extinguishing jet fuel and petroleum fires. However, it may cause various types of cancer — most notably kidney, testicular, and pancreatic cancer — in firefighters who were regularly exposed to the foam.

At particular risk are U.S. military firefighters, as the military widely used the foam for approximately 60 years. Firefighters assigned to airports are also at risk because airports required the use of the foam until 2018.

If you or a loved one are a firefighter, were exposed to this foam, and later developed cancer, you may be entitled to compensation through a firefighter foam lawsuit.

What is Firefighting Foam?

Known officially as aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), firefighting foam creates a blanket that cuts off the fuel from the oxygen it needs to burn. To help smother the fire, chemicals known as Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) were, and, in some circumstances, are still used.

Major health organizations like The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the American Cancer Society (ACS) have noted that certain PFAS may be linked to cancer in firefighters. In fact, the EPA has classified PFAS as “emerging contaminants,” meaning they are likely dangerous to human health.

Cancers associated with PFAS include:

  • Kidney cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Neuroendocrine tumors
  • Prostate cancer

The highly durable nature of PFAS means they do not break down over time. Because of this, it may remain in the body for years.

High-Risk Occupations

Those who served as airport or military firefighters are at particularly high risk of PFAS exposure. Until 2018, the Federal Airport Administration (FAA) required airports to use PFA-containing foam following U.S. Navy guidelines.

The U.S. Navy and other branches of the military have used firefighting foam since the 1960s, even during training exercises and non-critical missions. It was particularly favored since it could put out jet fuel fires. The military is currently phasing out the use of certain PFAS.

 

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