What is Firefighter Foam?
The volatile chemicals in aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs) used by firefighters can leach into the ground and contaminate groundwater. AFFFs are used by firefighters to douse massive fires because they create a water-resistant blanket that smothers flames. They contain fluorine-containing chemicals that help the foam stick to vertical surfaces and suspends water in the air. To file for the Firefighter foam lawsuit, you may want to consider reaching out to a lawyer for the Firefighter Foam settlement.
Fluorinated chemicals can be toxic. When released into the environment, the chemicals have been found to contaminate groundwater and may affect the function of human organs.
More than 3,000 firefighters and volunteers are suing the manufacturers of AFFFs: 3M, Chemguard, Quadrant, Tyco Fire Products and others. The firefighters claim that the companies concealed the toxic nature of the chemicals and that a number of firefighters have developed cancer, leukemia, and other serious health issues.
What’s the Problem with AFFFs?
The problem is that the fluorinated chemicals in AFFFs can leach into the ground and contaminate groundwater, and can also seep into the air when AFFFs are applied during a fire.
Chemical manufacturers and firefighters say that the chemicals are safe as long as they are used properly. However, a Department of Health and Human Services report found that the fluorine-containing chemicals in AFFFs only degrade at temperatures above 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Most fires don’t reach that temperature.
In addition, firefighter training materials show that firefighters applying AFFFs need to be protected from exposure.
“The most effective way to avoid exposure to toxic levels of fluorochemicals is to avoid their creation.”
Firefighters who work with AFFFs say that they’ve been ordered to use the foams without proper training or equipment. They say they’ve been ordered to suppress minor fires—without protective clothing, breathing masks, or air purifiers—that would normally be allowed to burn themselves out.
According to the lawsuit, the instructions on the AFFFs include the following:
“A sufficient quantity of AFFF should be applied to cool the hottest portions of the fire. AFFFs should be applied directly from the diluted spray tank to the fire. If the initial application does not cool the fire, a second application should be made.”
And firefighters are taking the manufacturers at their word: that AFFFs are safe, even with exposure. In addition, the firefighters are pointing to the lack of protective clothing, breathing masks, or air purifiers as evidence that the manufacturers were aware of the dangers of the chemicals.
They are asking for $150 million in damages, plus $1 million to the families of those who have died from cancer or other illnesses allegedly caused by the chemical exposure.
The manufacturers of AFFFs are fighting the lawsuit. They say that the fluorine-containing chemicals degrade at temperatures above 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and that they are safe as long as they are being used correctly.
Contact an Attorney
Those are affected or their family members who wish to file for compensation for their injuries may want to contact an attorney to fight their Firefighter Foam lawsuit. If you would like to see if you apply for pre-settlment funding, you can reach out to a company like Lending Eagles, to help you with that.