In June 2023, DuPont, Chemours, Corteva and 3M Company put up more than $13 billion to settle AFFF actions (Aqueous Film Forming Foams.) These settlements pertain only to 600 Public Water Systems. The settlements are subject to approval by Judge Richard M. Gergel, who was assigned in December 2018 to oversee the ongoing MDL proceedings in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina. These agreements do not release any claims made by firefighters who have suffered serious health effects arising from PFAS exposure.
Firefighters are at a higher risk of PFAS-related diseases because they are exposed to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) associated with their gear. The source of the PFAS may be from their gear’s construction materials or manufacturing process, deterioration of the gear during service, and/or while on duty. Studies have reported the presence of high levels of PFAS in firefighters’ blood. It has been proposed that the PFAS source is from the fire scene (AFFF, buildings contents, etc.), and/or from the gear itself.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), scientific studies have shown that exposure to some PFAS in the environment may be linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals.
PFAS related health concerns
Research involving humans suggests that high levels of certain PFAS may lead to the following:
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Decreased vaccine response in children
- Changes in liver enzymes
- Increased risk of high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women.
Studies of laboratory animals given large amounts of PFAS indicate that some PFAS may affect growth and development. In addition, these animal studies indicate PFAS may affect reproduction, thyroid function, the immune system, and injure the liver. See PFAS Fact sheet here.
Civil or military firefighters diagnosed with cancer after exposure to PFAS in AFFF firefighting foam or gear may be eligible for money damages. Thousands of firefighters have already filed lawsuits.
Who may qualify for the PFAS firefighters’ lawsuit?
- Anyone exposed to or used firefighting foam on the job or training; and,
- Diagnosed with Kidney Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Prostate Cancer, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Bladder Cancer, Thyroid Cancer, or Liver Cancer