Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) has been used for decades and has proven efficient in extinguishing fires. However, for all of its successes, recent studies and reports have shown the toxicity of chemicals used in AFFF. These chemicals have negative effects for those who are exposed to the foam, including cancer.
If you or a loved one has been exposed to AFFF and are suffering a life-altering illness, then you could be eligible to join in the 3M AFFF lawsuit. 3M is one of the manufacturers of the hazardous product and lawsuits have already come out against the company claiming that they knew the negative effects of the product they were making, but they manufactured and sold it anyway.
What is AFFF?
AFFF is a suppressant used to extinguish fires. The foam works by cooling the fire and suffocating it, preventing it from reaching oxygen and spreading. While AFFF has been used for decades to put out certain fires, there have been recent studies that have shown the negative and sometimes life-threatening side effects associated with AFFF exposure.
AFFF contains PFAS, a synthetic chemical that has been labeled as toxic by government agencies such as the CDC. Many states have restricted the use of firefighting foams containing PFAS, but the chemical is still present in some Class B foams. Because of the nature of AFFF, the side effects experienced following exposure to the chemical may take some time to show.
Therefore, if you start to experience negative health effects associated with the product, even if you know you are currently using a PFAS-free foam, but had been exposed to a foam containing PFAS in the past, then you should seek the help of a medical professional and attorney.
Where Is AFFF Found?
AFFF can be found at real-life fires and in training facilities. The foam is generally released on land, though it can spread to water and infiltrate the soil. The negative effects of AFFF on the environment have been highlighted in the 3M AFFF lawsuit, which describes the lingering effects of “forever chemicals”. These chemicals can have lasting effects on the environment, as well as in the body once exposed.
After AFFF has been released, it takes a very long time to break down. This means that the chemicals present within the product have ample time to spread and cause harm to whatever they come in contact with. This can cause long-term effects that get worse over time.
Who is Most at Risk for AFFF Exposure?
Firefighters are at the greatest risk, while military personnel are also at high risk for exposure to AFFF firefighting foam. Since firefighters use the foam both in training and in real-world scenarios, there are a lot of opportunities for them to be exposed to the product.
Military personnel use firefighting foam to combat fires in a variety of scenarios where water or another solution is not sufficient. There have been reports that the Department of Defense has known about the hazardous side effects of exposure to AFFF for years. Documents have been obtained that show that risks may have been known as early as the 1960s.
AFFF is also used to put out fires involving jet fuel or other highly flammable substances that cannot be suppressed rapidly, which means that airport workers could be at greater risk for exposure to the substance. In addition, there have been studies that have shown how AFFF can contaminate drinking water.
While firefighters are at the greatest risk, the truth is, there is at least some risk for individuals who live near or in an area where firefighting foam is used often or has been used recently. If you believe that you have been exposed to firefighting foam and you are showing symptoms of a serious illness, then you should seek the care of a medical professional.
Side Effects of AFFF Exposure
There are numerous side effects of AFFF exposure, including thyroid disease, high cholesterol, decreased fertility, asthma, and cancer. These ailments each carry with them their own set of symptoms. Knowing what to be alert for is integral to ensuring that you seek treatment in a timely fashion. Early treatment and diagnosis can help prevent a disease from progressing to a point that can cause serious harm, including death.
If you have been exposed to AFFF, some of the symptoms you may experience include, difficulty breathing, abdominal pain, extreme fatigue, chest pain, and changes to your immune system which can result in you getting sicker. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, and you have been exposed to AFFF, then you should seek the care of a medical professional right away.
AFFF Foam Cancer Risks
Due to the toxicity of AFFF, there are proven cancer risks involved with the product. While most chemicals break down over time, AFFF does so very slowly, and it can even expand before breaking down. When inhaled or ingested, AFFF can attach to a vital organ and start to affect it right away. While side effects may not appear immediately, over time your risk of cancer can increase.
What Kind of Cancer Does AFFF Cause?
AFFF can cause cancer to nearly every vital organ. Factors that can influence what kind of cancer is caused include how the product was inhaled and how long you were exposed to the product. Some of the most common cancers caused by AFFF are:
While these are the most common cancers caused by AFFF, there are other cancers that can be caused by exposure to the foam as well. If you were exposed to AFFF and you are experiencing symptoms related to cancer, it is best to seek a health care professional who can check for any serious illnesses.
If you are diagnosed with cancer, and you believe that it is because of exposure to AFFF, then you should contact an attorney who can help you get involved in an AFFF lawsuit.
How Is Firefighting Foam Contaminating Water?
Firefighting foam is used in a way to suppress a fire no matter where that fire is occurring. Due to this, the firefighting foam can seep into the soil and contaminate the environment. When it rains, the contaminated soil can wash into nearby rivers and streams which can ultimately pollute drinking water. You could be at increased risk for contaminated drinking water, if you live near a firefighter training facility, a military base, or an airport.
How Do I Know If I Have a Case?
If you have been exposed to AFFF, and you are experiencing serious symptoms related to cancer or another life-threatening disease, then you likely have a case. While there are individual circumstances that could make you eligible or ineligible to join a lawsuit, you should not be the one trying to figure it out.
The best thing that you can do is seek the help of a law firm that has experience with mass tort and personal injury lawsuits. They will be able to guide you through the process, review your medical records and determine whether or not the experience you are having is similar to others already involved in the lawsuit.
Should You File an AFFF Foam Lawsuit?
After you discuss your situation with an attorney, they will recommend that you either file or not file a lawsuit. If it is determined that the symptoms you are suffering are because of your exposure to AFFF, then you should file a lawsuit against 3M and the other manufacturers of firefighting foam.
Many law firms will offer free consultation, and most do not collect any payment from you unless they win your case. Therefore, seeking assistance from a legal expert should be of no cost to you if your lawsuit is not filed.
Have Any AFFF Foam Lawsuits Been Filed?
Over 2,000 AFFF foam lawsuits have been filed as of February 2022. In March 2022, it was determined that one judge would handle all of the lawsuits in order to speed up the process. While it can take years to see results, there is hope that settlements may start to occur soon. Already, 3M and a group of companies settled a lawsuit that claimed they were contaminating the water of the Tennessee River.
What Compensation is Available in an AFFF Lawsuit?
There are a variety of ways that you can recover compensation with your AFFF lawsuit. How you are compensated will depend on the details of your case. These factors include the length of exposure, the severity of the injuries or illnesses from AFFF exposure, and what settlement option will ultimately prove most lucrative to you.
AFFF Class Action Lawsuit
If you opt in to the AFFF class action lawsuit, then you will receive a percentage of the agreed-upon settlement. How much you receive in compensation will be based on what tier you fall into based on the findings of the lawsuit.
AFFF Lawsuit Settlement Amounts
The best way to determine how much will be received from an AFFF lawsuit is to look at how much has been given in compensation for similar lawsuits. While the AFFF class action lawsuits have not been settled yet, one can look at other settlements that have been reached involving PFAS or other toxic chemicals.
The more harmful that AFFF exposure was to you from a physical and financial standpoint, the more money that you should receive when a settlement is reached. Ultimately, the amount recovered could be anywhere from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Can I Afford a Lawyer?
Many lawyers will offer free consultation and a lot of firms will not request any payment unless they win your case. You should meet with a few lawyers to understand which firm is going to work the best for you. If a lawyer is too expensive for you, then continue to search for one that fits your financial needs.
Make sure that you discuss with your lawyer what their rate will be when your lawsuit is settled. This will help you ensure that you are not surprised by the cost of legal representation. Cheaper attorneys do not necessarily mean that they are worse than a more expensive attorney. There is plenty of value to be had when it comes to choosing the right lawyer for you. Your lawsuit is a personal process, and you want to make sure that you are picking a firm that can meet your needs.
Choosing an AFFF Lawsuit Attorney
Choosing the right AFFF lawsuit attorney for you takes some research, but it could be the most important part of the entire lawsuit process. Having an experienced attorney who has knowledge of the 3M AFFF class action lawsuit, and has previous experience with mass tort and class action lawsuits, can make a huge difference in the amount of compensation you receive.
In addition, you want to make sure that you choose a mass tort lawsuit attorney that is willing to represent you individually and will take into account all of the details of your lawsuit that make it unique.
Get Involved in the 3M AFFF Lawsuit
We are committed to seeing you treated fairly. If you are suffering due to exposure to AFFF firefighting foam, then let us help you. We understand that picking the right attorney for you can be a difficult process due to its importance. For more information about how our team can help you get involved in the 3M AFFF lawsuit, fill out the contact form here.
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