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What to Do If Your Loved One Has Developed Cancer Because of Aqueous Film-Forming Foams?

It’s a horrible thing to have your loved one diagnosed with cancer. It’s even more devastating when you realize that cancer could have been prevented, in this case, by restricting the use of aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs) in firefighting operations. But what next? What actions can you take once your loved one is diagnosed with cancer due to AFFF exposure? Well, you will get all your answers in this article.

Understand the Role That AFFFs Play in Firefighting

AFFFs are used to create fires and have many applications in emergency response. Firefighters use AFFFs to extinguish difficult-to-control fires. The foam coats the fuel source and prevents it from igniting, allowing firefighters to get close enough to control the fire. This type of firefighting is called “aqueous film-forming foam” (AFFF), which means that it uses water as its base, but does not use soap as traditional firefighting foams do.

AFFFs may also be used in military operations as part of a multi-pronged approach for putting out a blaze, including:

● Smothering the flames by spraying them directly with a stream of water or AFFF solution;

● Controlling any smoke or fumes produced by burning materials;

● Blocking oxygen flow into the fire source;

● Creating an impenetrable barrier around the site where flames are burning;

● Catching embers that fall onto the dry ground so they can’t start new fires nearby

How AFFFs Are Made and the Carcinogens They Contain

Your loved one has been diagnosed with cancer because of AFFFs, but you don’t know much about them or how they’re made. The good news is that there’s a ton of information available online. Here’s what has been learned so far:

● AFFFs are made from fluorochemicals, chemicals containing fluorine (a highly reactive element). When fluorine reacts with other chemicals, it forms carcinogenic compounds.

● These carcinogenic compounds can also be found in other household products such as Teflon and stain-resistant carpets.

Understand What Cancers Have Been Linked to Exposure to AFFF

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry(ATSDR) has noted the health concerns associated with PFAS. It’s essential to understand what cancers have been linked to exposure to AFFF that contain PFAS. The following cancers have been linked to the foam:

● Bladder cancer

● Breast cancer

● Colon cancer

● Kidney cancer

● Liver cancer

● Pancreatic cancer

● Prostate cancer

● Rectal cancer

● Testicular cancer

● Thyroid cancer

Any of these cancers can have devastating effects on patients and their families. Depending on the type of cancer diagnosed, treatment will vary greatly. In some cases, chemotherapy or radiation therapy may be needed; surgery will be required in others.

In addition to these specific types of cancer that have been linked with exposure to AFFF, there is evidence that many other types of health problems were likely caused by exposure as well, such as a slight decrease in infant weights, reduced response to the vaccine, increased cholesterol levels, increased high blood pressure risk, and changes in liver enzymes.

Your Legal Right to Compensation

If you or your loved one developed cancer after using AFFF, you might have a legal right to compensation. The District Court of South Carolina has consolidated all the lawsuits in this matter into multidistrict litigation MDL no. 2873. This was done to make it easier for affected victims to get appropriate compensation for their injuries.

If someone close to you developed cancer because of AFFF exposure and wants answers, you must find an attorney with experience working with parties like yours. The right lawyer will not only help answer questions about how AFFF exposure can cause cancer in some people, but they’ll also let you know in detail about the legal recourse available for the families affected by this issue. They can help you understand the requirements for you to file an AFFF lawsuit.

Several things happen when someone files a claim for compensation in this type of situation:

● An investigation into how their loved one was exposed to AFFFs begins immediately;

● The doctor who treated them will be interviewed so that any medical records can be reviewed

● Evidence from various organizations involved with these chemicals (such as military bases where these products were used) will also be collected during this period

● Once all the evidence has been collected and analyzed by an expert witness (a physician), they testify in court about what happened – which helps determine if someone should receive damages for their loss due to exposure to these harmful products.

An experienced attorney can help you with everything throughout the case. This can help you prepare the best way to increase your chances of winning. The defendants of the AFFF lawsuit are companies like 3M, DuPont, Tyco Fire Products, and others who manufacture extinguishers containing AFFF.

Cancer Caused by Exposure to AFFF Is a Serious Issue

Since 1970, firefighters have used aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), which is very effective in extinguishing petroleum and jet fuel fires. These chemicals are highly durable. This means that they don’t break down easily inside a person’s body and can remain in the body for a long time, causing various health problems.

Firefighters come into contact with the chemicals during both training and actual fires. U.S. military firefighters were more at risk for exposure as AFFF has been used widely in the military for a long time. Airport firefighters are also high-risk candidates, as these chemicals were used at airport locations until as recently as 2018.

The potential cancer risk from AFFF for firefighters is well-documented, and evidence continues to grow. However, the government has recognized the danger and taken steps toward fixing this issue.

The CDC has acknowledged the health risks of PFAS found in AFFF. In December 2019, the U.S. Senate voted to phase out the military’s use of firefighting foam containing PFAS starting in 2024. In addition, the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act bans military training exercises using PFAS-containing firefighting foam.


As observed, the consequences of AFFF exposure can be devastating. If your loved one developed cancer because of AFFFs, it’s essential that you know your legal rights and seeks compensation. You may also want to consider sharing this information with other firefighters or their families so they can see how these foams may impact them down the road.

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