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PFAS Lawsuits for Firefighters

Fighting PFAS Exposure Cases for Firefighters: Your Rights and Remedies

The Kann Law Group is at the forefront of championing the rights of firefighters exposed to dangerous chemicals through their essential work. Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) and firefighter turnout gear have been identified as significant sources of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). These substances are linked to several types of cancer and other serious health issues. Our firm is committed to holding manufacturers accountable and securing the compensation our clients deserve.

The Dangers of PFAS in Firefighting Equipment

  • Widespread Use of Toxic Chemicals: AFFF, a fire suppressant foam, and firefighter turnout gear contain PFOA and PFOS, part of the PFAS chemical group known for their durability and resistance to water, oil, and heat.
  • Health Risks Identified: The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified PFOA as a "possible human carcinogen," with substantial epidemiological evidence linking heavy PFAS exposure to cancer.
  • Exposure Through Equipment: Firefighters are exposed to PFAS not only through the use of AFFF but also via their turnout gear. The breakdown of this gear can release PFAS-containing dust, which is then inhaled.
  • Long-Term Corporate Knowledge: Evidence suggests that companies like 3M and Dupont have known for decades about the toxic effects of PFAS on human health but continued to produce and sell these products.   

Cancers Linked to PFAS Exposure

Firefighters who have used AFFF or worn PFAS-containing turnout gear and have been diagnosed with the following cancers after August 1, 2021, may be entitled to compensation:

  • Thyroid cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Colon cancer

The Risks of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) in Firefighting

Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) has been a staple in firefighting, especially in combating fuel fires that water alone cannot extinguish. While its effectiveness is undeniable, the presence of harmful Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in AFFF poses significant risks to firefighters and the environment:

  • Critical Use in Firefighting: AFFF is specifically designed to suppress high-intensity fires, such as those involving flammable liquids. Its unique ability to form a barrier between the fire and the air drastically reduces the fire's oxygen supply, effectively extinguishing it.
  • PFAS Content: The key components that give AFFF its fire-suppressing capabilities are PFAS chemicals, including PFOA and PFOS. These substances are known for their ability to repel oil and water, contributing to the foam's effectiveness.
  • Exposure Concerns: Firefighters using AFFF are at risk of direct exposure to PFAS through inhalation of aerosolized foam particles and dermal contact during firefighting and cleanup operations. This exposure is concerning due to PFAS's association with various cancers and other health issues.
  • Environmental Impact: Beyond immediate health concerns for firefighters, AFFF use poses a significant risk to the environment. PFAS chemicals are resistant to degradation, leading to long-term contamination of water sources, soil, and the broader ecosystem where AFFF is deployed.
  • Regulatory and Health Scrutiny: The use of AFFF has come under increasing scrutiny as awareness of PFAS toxicity has grown. Regulatory bodies and health organizations are reevaluating the safety and environmental impact of AFFF, leading to calls for alternatives and stricter controls on its use.
  • Litigation and Liability: The recognition of AFFF's risks has led to numerous lawsuits against manufacturers, with plaintiffs alleging that these companies were aware of the dangers posed by PFAS in AFFF but failed to warn users or seek safer alternatives.
  • Moving Towards Safer Alternatives: In response to these concerns, the firefighting community, regulatory agencies, and manufacturers are exploring PFAS-free alternatives to AFFF that do not compromise on safety and effectiveness in fire suppression.

Understanding PFAS: The Hidden Hazard in Firefighter Turnout Gear

Per- and Poly-fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used in a variety of industries around the globe, including firefighting equipment, due to their strong resistance to water, oil, and heat. However, the inclusion of PFAS in firefighter turnout gear raises significant health concerns:

  • Ubiquitous Presence: PFAS, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), are prevalent in the manufacturing of firefighter turnout gear for their durability and protective qualities against heat and chemical exposure.
  • Durable but Dangerous: These chemicals do not break down in the environment or the human body, earning them the nickname "forever chemicals." Their persistence means that even minimal exposure can accumulate over time, leading to significant health risks.
  • Routes of Exposure: Firefighters are primarily exposed to PFAS through inhalation of dust particles from the wear and tear of turnout gear. Additionally, skin contact with PFAS-laden gear can lead to absorption through the skin, further increasing the risk of exposure.
  • Health Implications: The robust nature of PFAS makes them highly resistant to breaking down, leading to accumulation in the human body. This accumulation has been linked to a range of adverse health effects, including several types of cancer, immune system effects, and hormonal disruptions.
  • Regulatory Concerns and Shifts: Awareness of the dangers posed by PFAS has led to increased scrutiny and calls for regulation. Some jurisdictions have begun to phase out the use of PFAS in various products, including firefighting gear, but the widespread legacy of their use remains a challenge.
  • Alternatives and Solutions: The firefighting community and gear manufacturers are exploring PFAS-free alternatives that do not compromise on safety and effectiveness. Transitioning to these alternatives requires significant investment and time, underscoring the need for regulatory support and industry commitment.

How Much Money Can You Be Awarded In a PFAS Settlement?

  • Plaintiffs with the strongest cases and most severe conditions are anticipated to receive settlements ranging from $200,000 to $500,000.
  • Plaintiffs in the second tier may see settlements between $150,000 and $300,000.
  • Plaintiffs in the third tier or below, often having less substantial claims and milder conditions, can expect to receive up to $75,000 in settlement amount.

How The Kann Law Group Can Help You

  • Expert Legal Representation: Our team specializes in mass-tort litigation, advocating for those harmed by widespread corporate negligence.
  • Comprehensive Case Evaluation: We offer detailed case assessments to determine the link between your cancer diagnosis and PFAS exposure.
  • Fighting for Justice: Our goal is to hold responsible parties accountable for their actions and secure the maximum compensation for our clients.
  • You Pay Nothing Upfront: We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don't pay us anything unless we win money for you.

Contact Us Today

  • Contact Us for a Free Consultation: If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer potentially linked to PFAS exposure through firefighting foam or gear, reach out to our team.
  • Gather Documentation: Medical records, employment history as a firefighter, and any records of AFFF use or turnout gear issued will support your case.
  • Act Promptly: Statutes of limitations apply, so it's essential to begin the legal process as soon as possible to preserve your rights.

The Kann Law Group is dedicated to providing the highest level of legal advocacy for firefighters affected by PFAS exposure. Our commitment to justice means relentlessly pursuing the compensation and accountability our clients deserve. If you believe you've been affected, contact us today to explore your legal options. The best way to contact us is through our online confidential contact form. One of our lawyers will call you right away. You can also call us at 888-744-7730.