Do I Qualify for the AFFF Lawsuit?
If you have been diagnosed with kidney, pancreatic, liver, or ovarian cancer after years of exposure to AFFF firefighting foam, you qualify for an AFFF lawsuit. The poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAS) molecules in the AFFF foam don’t biodegrade well and tend to bind with protein molecules in humans and animals.
The toxic nature of the PFAS molecules is the reason many people who have been overexposed to the AFFF foam end up developing cancer.
Do You Qualify?
People who qualify for the AFFF lawsuit are firefighters, military, and police personnel who have been using AFFF foam to put fight out fires for years and have been diagnosed with cancer. You’ll need to provide medical records supporting your claim. The evidence should also indicate you’ve suffered financial, mental, and physical health damage from the illness.
The Types of Cancer You Can Get From AFFF.
People who have been exposed to AFFF foam for extended periods are at a higher risk of developing any of these cancers:
- Prostate cancer
- Breast cancer
- Liver cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
In May 2012, a new study showed that PFAS molecules could also cause reduced bone mineral density resulting in bone fractures and other orthopedic problems. Testicular cancer is the biggest threat to male firefighters, with a study showing that one in every six firefighters developed this cancer.
Another study indicated that male firefighters are more likely to develop prostate cancer even after a few years of exposure to AFFF. The study also showed that full-time firefighters had a higher mortality rate than part-time firefighters.
Liver, kidney, and bladder cancers are very common in both male and female firefighters, and they have a higher mortality rate as well. Although rare, there have been cases where both genders developed more than one cancer. Female firefighters are vulnerable to breast and kidney cancers, with prostate, testicular, and liver cancers common in male firefighters.
Leukemia is also another cancer affecting younger firefighters, with many victims under the age of 50.
AFFF Class Action Lawsuit
With hundreds of AFFF lawsuits already filed in South Carolina, aggrieved parties are encouraged to come forward and claim damages from the product manufacturers. The cases have been consolidated, with victims expected to provide more evidence that could aid with the lawsuit.
The lawsuit aims to prove that 3M and DuPont, the leading manufacturers of AFFF, were aware of the presence of the deadly PFAS molecules in their products but still sold them, knowing the health dangers they pose to users.
For instance, the manufacturers became aware in the 1970s of the adverse environmental effects caused by their products. Additionally, they have known since the 1990s of the direct health dangers to people and haven’t done much to correct the mistakes.
The lawsuit is not limited to people living with cancer, as North Carolina is also pushing to sue DuPont for contaminating groundwater, which places many people’s health at risk. The lawsuit also aims at getting maximum compensation for the victims and families of the deceased.
Firefighter Foam Settlement
The AFFF lawsuit comprises thousands of cases, with hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation expected to be rewarded to victims. The lawsuit traces back to 1965 when the first AFFF-related cases were recorded. All people who have suffered injuries through contact with AFFF products or contaminated water are entitled to settlement and are encouraged to join the class-action lawsuit.
AFFF Lawsuit Settlement Amounts
The expected lawsuit settlement amounts will vary depending on the extent of damage, medical evidence, and whether the victims are alive or dead. The amount is not limited to firefighters alone but also area residents who have suffered injuries from drinking contaminated water. A successful AFFF lawsuit could result in one of the following outcomes:
- AFFF Lawsuit Settlement: Here, the injured party is paid a sum of money for the injuries suffered after using the products made by the defending party. Such negotiations take place outside the courtrooms and are the most common forms of legal settlements.
- AFFF Verdict: This is when the two parties cannot agree on the settlement amount, and they decide to proceed to trial. The two parties are also required to provide sufficient evidence backing their claims, and the party with compelling evidence wins.
Firefighter Foam Cash Settlement
Cash settlements are offered when the injured party can prove they suffered health injuries after using the defendants’ products for years. In the AFFF lawsuit, the plaintiff should provide evidence like medical records showing the diagnosis and treatment procedures. They should also provide proof such as contaminated water and food containing PFAS molecules, dating back before their diagnosis.
The cash settlement is expected to be in millions of dollars, with successful cash settlements already offered.
Here are a few examples of the AFFF lawsuit cash settlements:
- $17.5 million was paid by the makers of Tyco Fire Products (Johnson Controls) after it was proven their products were contaminated with PFAS.
- $4 billion was paid by Corteva, DuPont, and Chemours for producing contaminated products since the 1960s.
- $50 million was paid by Corteva, DuPont, and Chemours to the State of Delaware for contaminating drinking water that posed health risks to the residents.
- $850 million was paid by 3M for contaminating groundwater with PFAS.
Already thousands of victims have filed lawsuits, with the prosecution expecting more people to step forward. Many of the cases have been consolidated, and the collection of new evidence is ongoing.
High-Risk Occupations for AFFF Exposure
Military, police, and firefighters are at a higher risk of developing cancer and other dangerous health conditions after years of using AFFF foam. Their extended exposure starts from their time in training and continues when they’re deployed into service.
According to the CDC studies, PFAS molecules settle into the liver, kidney, and blood, and a considerable accumulation of the toxins would lead to cancer development. Further research also shows that people who ingest, inhale, or absorb the molecules through the skin are at a higher risk of getting various cancers.
According to statistics, 9% of firefighters are diagnosed with cancer, with the death rate at 14% of the victims. Besides suffering bodily harm, many cancer survivors go through financial turmoil caused by high medical bills. The essence of the lawsuit is to compensate these victims for the losses they have incurred.
Military personnel with access to AFFF foam are also at a higher risk of developing cancer, with 6% of new cases recorded yearly. Police follow closely with 5% of cancer cases annually.
Here are some examples of losses that victims of PFAS poisoning are likely to face:
- Deteriorating Health: Victims must keep up with brutal cancer treatment in addition to struggling with the illness.
- Lost Income: Since victims spend most of their time undergoing medical treatment, they rarely have enough time to work. Additionally, they’re often too weak to work such a physical job, with many failing to bring in any money for their families.
- Financial Debt: Cancer treatments are costly, and not everyone has the funds to pay them. Some insurance companies have rigid rules limiting the amount they pay for such treatments, leaving the patients in financial ruin.
- Emotional Turmoil: The idea of dealing with cancer and the treatments can be too much for many people and their families. Besides undergoing cancer treatment, many must take on therapy sessions to help them deal with stress.
- Funeral Expenses: Families that have lost loved ones due to PFAS-related cancer have to pay for funeral expenses.
It’s always best to keep a copy of everything that you believe will aid your case, including medical bills.
Who Else May Be at Risk of AFFF Exposure?
Besides firefighters and military personnel who are in constant contact with the PFAS molecules in their line of work, other people might also be at risk of AFFF exposure. They include:
- People living near military barracks, police academies, or firefighters’ training grounds. They’re at risk due to contaminated groundwater when the harmful chemicals seep through the ground.
- People using nearby contaminated water bodies like rivers and lakes.
- People who have eaten infected food, such as fish from local water bodies.
- People who live near an airport, oil refinery, or processing plant are also at a higher risk of exposure to AFFF.
You can join the lawsuit taking place across the country to claim damages from the manufacturers for their negligent actions if you have been diagnosed with cancer and match any group of people described above.
How to Know if You’ve Been Infected With AFFF
A cancer diagnosis is the first and easiest way of knowing if you have been infected. However, there are other signs to look out for that might tell you if you have been exposed to AFFF foam, including:
- Thyroid Disease: It’s a big sign, especially if there’s no family history of it. The condition can be conclusive evidence, especially if you’ve lived near a barracks, firefighter station, or police academy.
- Liver Disease: Although many things can cause this condition, it’s always best to get a second opinion by collecting water samples within your residence and having them tested for PFAS molecules.
- Immune System Changes: If your health has been deteriorating lately and you reside in the PFAS hot spots near firefighters’ training grounds, there are significantly higher chances you’re exposed to the dangerous chemicals.
- Child Development Issues: PFAS is known to cause bone-related problems that might affect children’s development. It’s best to take this issue seriously and seek immediate medical attention.
- Cholesterol Increases: If you have a good diet but still struggle with cholesterol, there are higher chances you’re exposed to PFAS molecules that cause hormonal imbalance.
How to Test for AFFF
Blood testing is not ideal for determining if you have AFFF poisoning since many people have this component in their bloodstreams. However, you should have the water or food you consume tested to check for PFAS molecules instead.
For accurate results, you should collect the specimen (such as well or groundwater) and send it to local laboratories to be tested for PFAS. The aim is to check the quantity of the molecules to determine whether they pose any health risks to you.
Additionally, you can submit food samples such as fish and vegetables to determine the extent of contamination in your area. Such tests are perfect for people who haven’t worked with AFFF foam as firefighters but reside close to where the products have been used for years.
You should expect results within a few days, depending on the equipment used in the labs and the extent of testing you need on the samples.
What Should You Do if You Find Traces of PFAS?
If test results show the presence of toxic molecules in your water and food samples, you should seek immediate medical attention to determine the extent of damage you have suffered. Next, you should stop using any contaminated items and food in your home to reduce further damage.
An AFFF attorney from our firm can guide you through the legal process and determine what your case is worth. The lawyers will help calculate the extent of damage you have suffered – physically, emotionally, and financially. They will also investigate the contaminated water and area to gather evidence for your case.
Consult an AFFF Lawsuit Attorney
Get in touch with an AFFF lawsuit lawyer from the Sentinel Group today for a free consultation and legal advice. We can help you collect the relevant evidence that will aid in your case. Additionally, we can keep you updated on the lawsuit’s progress and any changes taking place nationwide. Lawyers within our network can fight for your case to ensure you receive proper representation, allowing you to focus on your health and recovery.
Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and let us help you get what you deserve.