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Cancer in Firefighters Likely Related to Firefighting Foam


For years, firefighting professionals and members of the military have used Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) in fighting jet fuel and petroleum fires. Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (also known as PFAS) are chemical compounds that were (and sometimes still are) found in firefighting foam. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the American Cancer Society have all identified PFAS as likely to cause cancer. Over time, these compounds can build up in the body and cause serious health problems to people who are frequently exposed to PFAS.

Who Is At Risk?

Military personnel, airport firefighters, and many civilian firefighters have a long history of using AFFF in fighting fuel-based fires. The foam is effective at smothering fires because it does not allow oxygen to reach the blaze. Military bases have used AFFF foam since 1970, and many continue to use AFFF today. Airports used the foam up until 2018, when they switched to an alternative due to AFFF’s association with cancer.

Unfortunately, firefighters who use AFFF are not the only ones at risk of exposure to PFAS. People who live around near areas where AFFFs are used could face PFAS contamination in their drinking water and groundwater. This is especially true around military bases that utilize AFFF for firefighting.

What Are the Risks Associated With AFFF?

AFFF made with PFAS chemicals can put people who are exposed to the substances in danger. Health risks associated with AFFF and PFAS include:

  • Testicular Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Leukemia
  • Compromised Immunity
  • Fertility Problems

In addition to studies from the CDC, the EPA, the American Cancer Society, and Emory University, internal studies at 3M and DuPont (manufacturers of AFFF) show the adverse health effects associated with AFFF and PFAS. Proven consequences of PFAS range from birth defects to cancer to liver damage.

AFFF is also associated with grave environmental concerns because PFAS chemicals are what’s known as “forever chemicals”. Forever Chemicals use an 8-carbon atom chain that does not break down in nature easily – thus increasing the risks of soil and water contamination for the general population.

Companies that make fire foam products have been aware of these studies for years. Nevertheless, they failed to warn users, including the U.S. Military of the potential dangers associated with their products.

Who Can Help Me With a Potential Lawsuit?

Firefighters who have been exposed to the harmful chemicals in AFFF may be entitled to damages. If you are a firefighter or another individual who has been exposed to PFAS and injured as a result of AFFF manufacturers’ negligence, you have the legal right to bring a claim or lawsuit.

Our Kentucky personal injury attorney can help guide you through the complexities of a Toxic Injury Lawsuit.

Please contact Brett H. Oppenheimer, PLLC at to discuss your toxic exposure case today. You can also call us at (502) 242-8877 or contact us online to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with our experienced AFFF attorney.

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