In this article, we delve into the AFFF lawsuits of 2023, shedding light on the current landscape while keeping you informed about the ongoing legal battles. As we discuss settlements, potential compensation, and the connection between AFFF and cancer risks, our aim is to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of this significant issue.
As of July 2023, we’re beginning to see progress in AFFF settlements, particularly for municipalities dealing with PFAS contamination. These lawsuits cover issues like soil, groundwater, and drinking water. Notably, large corporations like 3M and DuPont are close to settling, marking significant progress. But, our focus is on the firefighters and military personnel affected.
Let’s dive into how the firefighting foam lawsuits are shaping up. We’ll touch on the latest from the AFFF MDL (Multi-District Litigation), explaining what that means for people involved. Looking forward, we’ll give you a glimpse of what to expect throughout 2023 in this ongoing legal process. Plus, we’ll introduce you to the main companies involved and share a recent AFFF lawsuit story.
AFFF and Its Link to Cancer: What You Need to Know
Now, let’s talk about AFFF, which is firefighting foam. It’s used to put out fires. What’s important to know is that AFFF contains chemicals called PFAS, often called “forever chemicals.” These chemicals can be harmful to humans, and some recent research shows a connection between AFFF exposure and different types of cancer.
Because of this link to cancer, we’re seeing a lot more lawsuits. People like former firefighters and military personnel are filing these lawsuits. They’ve been diagnosed with cancer after being around AFFF for a while. AFFF has been used for years to fight fires, especially those from things like gasoline. This includes real-life situations and practice drills by firefighters and military personnel. It’s more common than you might think, and these folks have been exposed quite a bit.
Unlocking the Science Behind AFFF Lawsuits
Understanding the science behind AFFF lawsuits involves delving into the properties and behaviors of PFAS chemicals within our environment, and comprehending the potential impacts they could have on human and wildlife health. PFAS chemicals, known for their persistence, can linger within the environment for extended periods. Unfortunately, these chemicals tend to infiltrate water sources, wildlife, and even the food we consume.
Extensive research by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has revealed a concerning correlation. Those consistently exposed to PFAS chemicals face a heightened risk of developing certain cancers, such as kidney, prostate, and testicular cancers. This revelation has prompted the American Cancer Society (ACS) to classify PFAS in firefighting foam as a human carcinogen. Expanding this understanding, subsequent studies have also linked AFFF exposure to additional types of cancer. This includes thyroid cancer, colon cancer, bladder cancer, and lymphoma.
Within the realm of AFFF lawsuits, plaintiffs often assert that manufacturers of AFFF foams neglected to forewarn about potential health hazards tied to PFAS exposure. They also claim that these manufacturers inadequately safeguarded against environmental contamination.
You might be curious about how firefighting foam could impact cancer risks. To meet the Daubert standard for AFFF lawsuits, we don’t need an in-depth explanation. The exact mechanisms by which firefighting foam increases your cancer risk are still being studied, but several potential pathways have been suggested:
- Genotoxicity: Emerging studies suggest that PFAS chemicals could inflict DNA damage, causing mutations that amplify cancer risk.
- Hormonal Disruption: PFAS chemicals have displayed a knack for meddling with the endocrine system, altering hormone levels. This disturbance has been correlated with increased risks of cancers such as breast and prostate cancer.
- Immune System Suppression: PFAS chemicals, unfortunately, have the potential to suppress the immune system. This suppression might escalate cancer risk, as the body’s defenses against aberrant cells are weakened.
- Oxidative Stress Uptick: Some research implies that PFAS exposure might elevate oxidative stress within the body, resulting in cellular harm and an elevated cancer risk
Defendants’ Awareness of AFFF’s Health Risks and Cancer Link
Though the precise mechanisms are still under exploration, the mounting evidence underscores a crucial point: long-term exposure to AFFF firefighting foam is linked to an increased cancer risk.
Prominent corporations like 3M and DuPont appear to have possessed a substantial understanding, potentially spanning many years if not decades, of the nature of compounds such as PFOA, PFOS, and other PFAS. These compounds are known for their durability, mobility, and inherent toxicity. To categorize their awareness merely as “knowledge” might even be an understatement.
Despite this awareness, these corporate entities choose not to disclose the inherent dangers of PFOS, PFOA, and related PFAS to the general public and regulatory authorities. The depth of their comprehension becomes apparent as we delve into 3M’s proactive engagement in comprehensive toxicity evaluations of PFAS compounds, including PFOS and PFOA, dating as far back as the 1950s – yes, the 1950s! The outcomes unequivocally indicated the detrimental impact of these chemicals.
Subsequent studies conducted by 3M scientists during the late 1970s reiterated this viewpoint, revealing that these compounds posed an even greater hazard than initially conceived. In 1978, 3M conducted animal studies, subjecting them to varying doses of PFOS and PFOA. The results underscored the adverse effects on the liver and gastrointestinal tracts of these subjects.
The year 1975 marked a pivotal juncture when external researchers alerted 3M to the presence of PFOS in human blood serum. This indicated its widespread distribution beyond immediate applications, as well as its tendency to accumulate over time. Studies conducted by 3M around their manufacturing facilities further demonstrated the potential for their fluorochemicals to accumulate within specific living organisms.
By 1979, 3M acknowledged the potential cancer risk posed by fluorochemicals. Strikingly, however, 3M chose not to publicize its toxicity findings and instead actively sought to impede research on PFAS’s adverse impacts, including PFOA and PFOS.
Lawsuits related to AFFF assert that 3M even attempted to influence independent academic research, apparently to prevent the release of unfavorable findings about PFAS. This alleged strategy seems aimed at protecting 3M from AFFF lawsuits and potentially avoiding the very class action lawsuit that is currently in progress.
When it comes to DuPont, a similar pattern emerges. Their purported actions resemble those of 3M. Both of these corporations, it’s suggested, disregarded the risks, seemingly motivated by the lure of significant financial gains.
AFFF Firefighting Foam Class Action Lawsuit
The fresh scientific evidence connecting PFAS in firefighting foam to cancer has set off a growing surge of legal actions concerning firefighting foam-related cancer cases. Lawsuits centering on AFFF-related cancer began to spread nationwide against companies like 3M, DuPont, and others responsible for producing and distributing firefighting foam products.
These AFFF lawsuits assert that manufacturers such as 3M were potentially privy to the PFAS-cancer connection as early as the 1990s but did not disclose it. The initial wave of AFFF lawsuits began making their way to courts in 2017. By 2018, a substantial number of firefighting foam cases were being reviewed in federal courts across the country, prompting the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to centralize them into a new class action MDL (multidistrict litigation).
The firefighting foam class action lawsuit was established in December 2018 and was placed under the jurisdiction of Judge Richard Gergel in the U.S. District Court for South Carolina. As of February 17, 2023, the AFFF class action MDL reportedly had 3,704 active cases under consideration. This encompasses various claims, including those from local governments asserting that PFAS present in firefighting foam tainted the water supply. The remaining cases revolve around conventional product liability claims, alleging that exposure to AFFF resulted in cancer.
Throughout 2022, an average of 175 new cases were appended to the AFFF firefighting foam MDL on a monthly basis. This consistent influx of fresh firefighting foam lawsuits led to a more than doubling in size of the class action MDL during the previous year. It remains uncertain how many of these new cases pertain to municipal water contamination versus personal injury allegations.
First Bellwether Trial Set for June 5, 2023
The initial bellwether trial within the AFFF class action MDL was earmarked to commence on June 5, 2023. The focal case, titled “City of Stuart v. 3M Co. et al.,” would take center stage. In this instance, the City of Stuart alleges that AFFF led to contamination within the municipal water infrastructure of Stuart, Florida. Notably, this trial was expedited due to the decision by PFAS manufacturers to retract and settle the case.
Is It Too Late to File a Firefighting Foam Lawsuit?
It’s not too late to initiate your AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit and potentially become part of any comprehensive settlement initiative that may be concluded within this year. The influx of new firefighting foam cancer lawsuits continues unabated, with numerous cases being submitted and incorporated into the AFFF class action MDL each month. To provide perspective, over the last 30 days alone, a substantial 317 new AFFF cases were introduced into the MDL – marking one of the highest monthly tallies since the commencement of this legal endeavor.
Example of a Recent Firefighting Foam Cancer Lawsuit
A recent lawsuit involving firefighting foam, known as Huntley v. 3M, has been introduced into the MDL class action. In this case, the plaintiff is a 57-year-old resident of Amarillo, Texas. He has chosen to take legal action against the AFFF defendant following his diagnosis of prostate cancer, which he attributes to his exposure to the defendant’s fluorochemical products during his tenure as a firefighter with both the United States Marine Corps (between 1983 and 1985) and the United States Navy (from 2001 to 2006). Through his AFFF lawsuit, he is seeking compensation for the personal injuries he’s endured, along with the pain, suffering, and emotional distress arising from his interaction with the defendant’s fluorochemical products.
This lawsuit contends that the defendants bear responsibility for the creation, production, promotion, distribution, and/or sale of AFFF products that contained PFOA and/or PFOS chemicals, alongside their precursor chemicals, to the Marine Corps and Navy. The plaintiff argues that the labels and material safety data sheets associated with the defendants’ AFFF products – which were used by firefighters within these military branches – failed to adequately disclose the potential health risks. Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that since the 1980s, the defendants possessed knowledge that PFOA and PFOS are harmful substances capable of entering the body through the respiratory system and gastrointestinal tract. This absorption, as claimed by the plaintiff, carries the potential to cause severe harm to crucial organs and the central nervous system.
What Companies Are Involved in the Firefighting Foam Settlement?
The AFFF firefighting foam class action is notable for its wide range of significant corporate defendants. Unlike a product exclusively owned by a single company, AFFF saw participation from various players in the chemical industry. Many manufactured and sold their versions of AFFF firefighting foam containing the same harmful substances. Consequently, these companies are now defendants in the AFFF litigation.
While several companies were part of the firefighting foam production landscape, two major players, namely 3M & Co. and DuPont, manufactured a substantial amount of AFFF. Therefore, they are the primary defendants in this litigation and are expected to bear most of the liability in any future settlement. Below is a list of the different companies involved in AFFF production and their potential participation in an overall settlement:
|BASF Corp.||The Chemours Company|
|Arkema Inc.||AGC Chemicals Americas|
|Chubb National Foam, Inc||Clariant Corp.|
|UTC Fire & Security Americas||Carrier Global Corp.|
Contact Us About a Firefighting Foam Lawsuit
Our partner lawyers are currently accepting new firefighting foam cases who meet the following criteria:
- Frequent exposure to AFFF
- Diagnosis of one of the following types of cancer: pancreatic, testicular, prostate, kidney, bladder, or lymphoma.
Legal Ally stand ready to assist your potential claim. Call our firefighting foam law firm today at
(855) 389-0031 or reach out to us online.