Exposure to PFAS in Firefighting Foam and PPEs
Thousands of current and former firefighters have come forward and filed lawsuits alleging that exposure to PFAS contained in firefighting foam and personal protective equipment such as turnouts caused certain cancers and other serious injuries.
This webpage contains information about PFAS and its detrimental effects on the human body, an update on lawsuits against the manufacturers and distributors of Class B foam and certain PPEs, and details about how we can help.
If you are a current or former firefighter, have been diagnosed or treated with cancer or other serious illness, and would like more information about your legal options, please give us a call at (800) 755-0098 or fill out our free case review form below. All consultations are free and confidential.
PFAS in Firefighting Foam and PPEs
PFAS, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have been used in firefighting foam (Aqueous Film Forming Foam) since the 1960s and personal protection equipment (PPEs such as turnouts, flash hoods, gloves, etc.) since the 1990s. PFAS are known as dangerous “forever chemicals” because they do not break down and will accumulate in the human body. PFAS do not occur in nature, and there is no safe, acceptable, or “normal” level.
Exposure can occur through ingestion, inhalation, and even dermal contact. The Environmental Protection Agency, International Agency for Research on Cancer, American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the University of Notre Dame all have published reports that PFAS are known carcinogens. There are a number of known health risks associated with exposure to PFAS, even at low levels, and include serious injuries such as:
- Testicular Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Bladder Cancer
- Thyroid Disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with any of the previous injuries after being exposed to PFAS through spraying firefighter foam or wearing firefighter PPEs, complete a free case review form to learn more about your options.
Firefighter PFAS Litigation
In 2019, lawsuits alleging PFAS water contamination, personal injuries caused by the water contamination, and injures alleged by firefighter exposure to PFAS were consolidated into a three-phase, federal consolidated multidistrict litigation (“MDL”) based in the District of South Carolina.
Phase 1 involves cases where municipalities and water suppliers nationwide are suing the manufacturers of firefighting foam such as 3M, DuPont, and several other companies for the contamination of drinking water. Recently, significant settlements have been achieved. DuPont and two other defendants settled their involvement in the Phase 1 lawsuits for $1.185 billion, and 3M settled theirs for $10.4 billion. This phase is still pending.
Phase 2, where the same defendants are being sued for personal injury due to the ingestion of contaminated water, will become active after August 11, 2023. A trial date has not yet been set. New Phase 2 cases are still being filed nationwide and transferred to the MDL.
Phase 3 will involve lawsuits filed on behalf of firefighters who were diagnosed and treated for specific types of cancer and other serious illnesses caused by years of exposure to PFAS through the use of firefighting foam and turnouts. In addition to the current set of defendants, manufacturers of PPEs—including MSA Safety, Inc. (Globe turnouts), Honeywell, Lion Group, Inc., and W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc. (Gore-Tex)—are being sued by some firefighters. New Phase 3 cases are still being filed nationwide and transferred to the MDL.
How We Can Help
If you are a current or former firefighter, have been diagnosed or treated with cancer or other serious illness such as those identified above, and would like more information about your legal options, please give us a call at (800) 755-0098 or fill out our free case review form below. All consultations are free and confidential.