AFFF Pancreatic Cancer Lawsuit

Written By:
Jessie Paluch
Jessie Paluch

Attorney Jessie Paluch, founder of TruLaw, has over 25 years of experience as a personal injury and mass tort attorney, and previously worked as an international tax attorney at Deloitte. Jessie collaborates with attorneys nationwide — enabling her to share reliable, up-to-date legal information with our readers.

This article has been written and reviewed for legal accuracy and clarity by the team of writers and legal experts at TruLaw and is as accurate as possible. This content should not be taken as legal advice from an attorney. If you would like to learn more about our owner and experienced injury lawyer, Jessie Paluch, you can do so here.

TruLaw does everything possible to make sure the information in this article is up to date and accurate. If you need specific legal advice about your case, contact us by using the chat on the bottom of this page. This article should not be taken as advice from an attorney.

Key takeaways:

  • AFFF foam contains PFAS chemicals linked to pancreatic and other cancers, raising concerns for firefighters and military personnel exposed.
  • Lawsuits claim AFFF manufacturers failed to warn users about cancer risks adequately; over 3,300 plaintiffs have joined the multidistrict litigation in South Carolina.
  • To establish causation in a lawsuit, individuals need medical records, expert testimonies, and scientific studies connecting AFFF exposure to their pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

Overview of the AFFF Pancreatic Cancer Lawsuit

On this page, we’ll provide an overview of the AFFF Pancreatic Cancer Lawsuit, severe health conditions associated with AFFF exposure, who qualifies to file an AFFF pancreatic cancer lawsuit, and much more.

AFFF Pancreatic Cancer Lawsuit

Intro to the AFFF Pancreatic Cancer Lawsuit

Litigation against manufacturers of AFFF asserts that they failed to warn about the health risks associated with its use.

The rising cases of pancreatic cancer in individuals exposed to Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) have led to a series of legal actions.

If you’ve suffered from pancreatic cancer after exposure to AFFF, you may be eligible to take legal action.

Contact TruLaw using the chat on this page to find out if you qualify to file an AFFF ulcerative colitis lawsuit.

Table of Contents

Legal Grounds for AFFF Cancer Lawsuits

The legal grounds for AFFF cancer lawsuits are product liability claims, the hazardous nature of the substances in AFFF, and precedents set by afff firefighting foam cases such as City of Stuart v. 3M Co et al.

Legal Grounds for AFFF Cancer Lawsuits

Basis of Product Liability Claims

In AFFF Pancreatic Cancer Lawsuits, claimants assert that manufacturers failed to warn users about the risks associated with exposure to toxic firefighting foam.

The lawsuits typically rest on three main product liability claims:

  • Negligence: Manufacturers did not exercise reasonable care in the design and production of AFFF.
  • Strict Product Liability: The product was inherently dangerous when it left the manufacturer’s control, and the design, manufacturing, or marketing defects resulted in injury.
  • Breach of Warranty: There was a failure to fulfill the terms of a promise regarding the product’s safety.

Role of Toxic Substances in AFFF

AFFF, or aqueous film-forming foam, contains substances often referred to as “forever chemicals,” including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS).

These compounds are:

  • Highly persistent in the environment and resistant to typical environmental degradation processes.
  • Linked to various forms of cancer, including pancreatic cancer, due to their bioaccumulative nature and toxicological profile.

The Case of the City of Stuart v. 3M Co et al.

One significant case in this legal arena is the City of Stuart v. 3M Co et al., which illustrates the challenges and legal pursuits related to AFFF contamination.

Key points from this legal case include:

  • Contamination Allegations: The City of Stuart claimed that AFFF manufacturers like 3M and others knew of the dangers but continued selling the products without proper warnings.
  • Legal Precedence: This case contributes to the legal framework by establishing arguments and outcomes that may influence other AFFF foam lawsuits.

The legal grounds for AFFF cancer lawsuits are multifaceted, and the above aspects provide a structure through which individuals and entities seek justice.

AFFF Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Progress

The AFFF Multidistrict Litigation has seen significant movements, with all federal lawsuits consolidated and overseen by a single judge, making the process more streamlined.

AFFF Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) Progress

Formation of the AFFF Firefighting Foam MDL

In response to the growing number of lawsuits, the Judicial Panel on Multi-District Litigation (JPMDL) created a centralized federal docket for the AFFF litigation.

This docket was established to improve efficiency and consistency in the pretrial proceedings of these cases.

The District of South Carolina was selected as the venue for these proceedings, and a single judge was appointed to oversee all matters related to the AFFF firefighting foam MDL.

Current Status of AFFF Litigation

The AFFF MDL has grown to include over 3,300 plaintiffs, indicating the scale of the issue and concerns surrounding AFFF.

The federal court in charge of the MDL is actively managing pretrial activities such as discovery and motion practice to ensure a fair and expeditious path forward for all parties included in the consolidated litigation.

Important Developments in Federal Courts

The consolidated Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) regarding AFFF exposure has seen significant advancements, with federal courts overseeing pivotal pretrial proceedings and negotiations.

These developments are crucial in streamlining the litigation process, setting the stage for potential settlements and ensuring that the legal rights of those affected by AFFF exposure are protected.

Key legal actions have taken place within the consolidated MDL in federal courts:

  • Settlement Conferences: The court has scheduled settlement conferences to facilitate possible resolutions.
  • Litigation Timelines: A scheduling order detailing deadlines for key activities in the AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit has been established to ensure a timely process.

These important developments suggest a proactive approach by the District of South Carolina Federal Court to address the numerous claims efficiently and with due diligence, ensuring that the judicial process operates effectively for those involved in the AFFF litigation.

Notable AFFF Lawsuits and Settlements

Several key issues have emerged as litigation involving aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) unfolds.

Notable AFFF Lawsuits and Settlements

These cases and settlements exemplify the legal challenges of pursuing compensation for personal injury and environmental harm.

Key AFFF Personal Injury Cases

The legal landscape of AFFF litigation is marked by a growing number of personal injury cases, highlighting the severe consequences of PFAS exposure.

These cases underscore the urgent need for accountability and appropriate compensation for those affected by the hazardous chemicals contained in firefighting foams.

In the complex landscape of AFFF litigation:

  • Case Developments: Lawyers estimate that settlement amounts may range significantly depending on the case specifics. Although exact figures are yet to be disclosed, projections suggest sums could be anywhere from $40,000 to over $300,000.
  • Cancer Diagnoses: Individuals, particularly firefighters, who were continually exposed to AFFF and subsequently developed various forms of cancer, including pancreatic, have grounds to pursue personal injury claims.

Municipal Water Contamination Claims

Widespread AFFF contamination has spurred significant municipal lawsuits, focusing on the extensive environmental and public health damages.

These actions reflect the critical need for remediation and stronger regulations to protect water quality and public health.

The implications for environmental contamination have been profound, with a focus on:

  • Number of Claims: The magnitude of claims related to water contamination is substantial, with around 3,400 cases poised within a class action specifically concerning AFFF’s environmental impact.
  • Scope of Impact: Municipalities have pursued claims against AFFF manufacturers due to the extensive water contamination that impacted drinking water systems, demanding significant financial compensation for public health and infrastructure damages.

AFFF Class Action and the Global Settlement Deal

The ongoing litigation regarding Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) has reached a pivotal point with structuring the Multi-District Litigation (MDL) and discussing a global settlement deal.

AFFF Class Action and the Global Settlement Deal

Structure of the AFFF Class Action MDL

The AFFF MDL aggregates individual claims related to AFFF and PFAS exposure and then consolidates them for pre-trial proceedings.

This simplifies the process of finding and managing cases that share legal and factual issues, such as:

  • Centralized Proceedings: The MDL aims to efficiently handle over 6,000 lawsuits concerning AFFF and its alleged link to cancer, including pancreatic cancer.
  • Uniformity in Rulings: By centralizing these cases, the MDL seeks to avoid disparate rulings and promote consistent outcomes across similar cases.

Understanding the Global AFFF Settlement

The global settlement is a collective agreement to resolve all AFFF class action MDL claims.

Details regarding the global settlement are critical:

  • Scope of the Settlement: The global settlement is designed to compensate individuals who allege harm from AFFF, potentially covering a broad range of claimants.
  • Settlement Amounts: While terms such as the average AFFF lawsuit settlement amount remain confidential, the deal represents negotiations to compensate plaintiffs based on the merits of their cases adequately.

The litigation strategy and settlements in the AFFF class action MDL could have profound implications for affected parties and similar future litigations.

The Science Behind AFFF-Related Cancers

Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) has been associated with an elevated risk of cancer, primarily due to the presence of hazardous chemicals.

The Science Behind AFFF-Related Cancers

This section will provide a detailed perspective on the carcinogenic elements within AFFF and the scientific evidence that has established a link between AFFF and cancer.

Chemical Analysis of Toxic Firefighting Foam

Toxic firefighting foams contain a variety of chemicals that are a concern for human health.

The primary chemicals in AFFF are per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a class of synthetic compounds resistant to grease, oil, water, and heat.

Notably, two PFAS chemicals, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), have been most closely scrutinized for their health effects:

  • PFOA: Once widely used in manufacturing, its use in AFFF and other products have been phased out in many places due to health concerns.
  • PFOS: Also phased out in many countries, PFOS was a key component in AFFF for its effectiveness in fighting fuel fires.

Scientific Evidence Linking AFFF to Cancer

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that suggests a causal association between exposure to AFFF and cancer development.

This link is significant in cases involving individuals with high levels of exposure, such as firefighters and military personnel.

Several types of cancer have been the focus of AFFF-related studies:

  • Kidney Cancer: Long-term exposure to PFAS compounds has been linked to an increased risk of kidney cancer.
  • Testicular Cancer: Some studies have found PFAS exposure associated with a higher prevalence of testicular cancer.
  • Pancreatic Cancer: Although research is ongoing, there is concern about the relationship between PFAS exposure and pancreatic cancer.

These studies show a trend of higher incidences of these cancers among individuals with elevated PFAS levels in their blood.

However, establishing a definitive cause-and-effect relationship between AFFF exposure and cancer diagnosis requires extensive scientific validation.

A Comprehensive List of AFFF-Related Health Disorders

Exposure to Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) has been linked to several health disorders, particularly certain types of cancers.

A Comprehensive List of AFFF-Related Health Disorders

These concerns have led to increased scrutiny and numerous lawsuits related to the health risks associated with AFFF.

Identification of AFFF-Linked Illnesses

These illnesses represent a critical concern for disease control and underscore the importance of understanding the full impact of AFFF on health.

The identification of illnesses related to AFFF exposure includes a spectrum of cancers and diseases, such as:

  • Kidney Cancer: Patients with a history of AFFF exposure face a heightened risk of developing kidney cancer, characterized by symptoms such as blood in urine and lower back pain.
  • Testicular Cancer: Testicular cancer is another serious condition seen in individuals exposed to AFFF, often distinguished by a swelling or lump in the testicle.
  • Thyroid Cancer: There is evidence suggesting a correlation between AFFF and an increased incidence of thyroid cancer, typically identified by a nodule or lump in the neck.
  • Bladder Cancer: Bladder cancer, with symptoms such as frequent urination and pelvic pain, has also been reported in those with significant exposure to AFFF.
  • Thyroid Disease: Beyond cancer, AFFF exposure has been potentially linked to other thyroid diseases, which can manifest as hormonal imbalances or metabolic issues.

Each of these conditions requires careful monitoring and medical attention to ensure timely diagnosis and treatment.

Occupational Exposure and Cancer in Firefighters

Occupational hazards, such as the frequent use of firefighting foam, are a significant concern due to the potential health risks they pose to firefighters.

Occupational Exposure and Cancer in Firefighters

Specifically, the use of AFFF has been associated with an increased risk for firefighters to develop cancer.

Analysis of AFFF Use in Firefighting

Firefighters are often exposed to AFFF during emergency responses.

This foam effectively suppresses flammable liquid fires by forming a barrier between the fuel and the air.

However, the chemicals contained in AFFF have raised health concerns:

  • Perfluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are commonly found in AFFF and are linked to several types of cancer, including pancreatic cancer.
  • Being exposed to AFFF means that firefighters are in direct contact with these substances, which could lead to an increased risk of developing cancer over time.
  • Studies have demonstrated elevated concentrations of PFAS in firefighters’ blood, suggesting that occupational exposure is significant.

The Firefighter Cancer Registry Act

This legislative action acknowledges and addresses the occupational hazards faced by firefighters, potentially linked to their frequent exposure to AFFF and other carcinogenic substances.

By systematically gathering and analyzing cancer incidence among firefighters, the registry aims to facilitate targeted research efforts, ultimately leading to improved protective measures and treatment protocols.

In response to the growing concerns over cancer risks among firefighters, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act was enacted:

  • The act establishes a national registry to collect detailed data on firefighter cancer incidence.
  • This registry improves the monitoring of cancer trends and facilitates research into the connections between firefighting and cancer.

The creation of a specialized registry underscores the acknowledgment by health authorities and lawmakers of the potential link between firefighting foam regularly used in the field and the incidence of cancer.

Data from this registry is instrumental in shaping policies and practices to reduce occupational exposure and protect those who serve their communities.

Roles and Responsibilities of AFFF Manufacturers

AFFF manufacturers have specific legal and ethical obligations, particularly concerning product information transparency and invocating government contractor defense mechanisms.

Roles and Responsibilities of AFFF Manufacturers

Adherence to these responsibilities is crucial, especially in light of ongoing litigation.

Manufacturer Transparency

AFFF manufacturers like Tyco Fire Products owe it to consumers and the broader public to provide accurate product information.

The role and responsibilities of AFFF manufacturers include, but are not limited to:

  • Disclosing the presence of potentially harmful chemicals in AFFF firefighting foam.
  • Cooperating with inquiries and regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure product safety standards are met.

Transparency Requirements include sharing research data linked to the health impacts of AFFF exposure and informing users about proper handling and disposal methods to mitigate environmental harm.

Government Contractor Defense

The litigation highlights the tension between manufacturers’ claims of compliance with government requirements and the broader public health and environmental safety concerns raised by AFFF use​.

In legal disputes, some AFFF manufacturers may claim government contractor defense, arguing that:

  • They produced AFFF under a contract with the federal government, and
  • They supplied the product that met the government’s precise specifications.

This defense implies that manufacturers should not be held liable if they adhered strictly to government directives during the AFFF’s production and distribution stages.

Firefighting Foam Legal Advocacy and Support

Victims impacted by AFFF exposure have avenues for legal recourse and support to manage their personal injury claims.

Firefighting Foam Legal Advocacy and Support

Expert legal representation and resources are essential for navigating the complexities of litigation.

Finding Experienced Firefighting Foam Lawyers

The selection of experienced firefighting foam lawyers is critical for those seeking justice and compensation.

Here are the qualities to look for in a proficient attorney:

  • Specialization: Lawyers should specifically have a background in handling AFFF personal injury claims.
  • Reputation: Ideal candidates will have a proven track record of securing firefighting foam settlements.

Resources for AFFF Personal Injury Claims

Access to detailed guidance and expert legal assistance is indispensable for individuals navigating the complexities of AFFF-related personal injury claims.

Professionals specializing in environmental law and personal injury can ensure claimants are well-equipped to articulate their case and secure appropriate compensation.

Access to comprehensive resources can guide individuals through the personal injury claim process:

  • The National Fire Protection Association provides information on the safe use and risks associated with firefighting foam.
  • Documentation like medical records and exposure history can substantiate a claim.

It is important for claimants to stay informed and seek the support that can aid in their pursuit of rightful compensation.

Impact of Toxic AFFF on Environment and Public Services

Toxic aqueous film-forming foam, commonly known as AFFF, has raised significant environmental and public service concerns, specifically about water contamination and its impact on the Air Force and civil services.

Impact of Toxic AFFF on Environment and Public Services

Case Studies on Water Contamination by AFFF

Several case studies have demonstrated the persistent nature of chemicals found in AFFF and their ability to contaminate water sources.

The substances involved, particularly PFAS chemicals, are resistant to environmental degradation and can accumulate over time.

Key insights from case studies on AFFF water contamination include:

  • Long-term water contamination: Communities surrounding military bases where AFFF has been used extensively for training and firefighting exercises report higher water contamination levels.
  • Health risks for residents: Prolonged exposure to contaminated water has been associated with an increased risk of developing health issues, including cancer.

An investigation by TruLaw examines the potential liability of AFFF manufacturers for water contamination and the eligibility of those exposed to file lawsuits.

Impact on Air Force and Civil Services

These developments necessitate a paradigm shift in how firefighting agents are evaluated and selected, emphasizing the balance between efficacy in emergency response and environmental stewardship.

The use of AFFF by the Air Force and civil services has significant environmental consequences along with direct impacts on these entities:

  • Operational challenges for the Air Force: Given the health and environmental issues, the Air Force now faces the challenge of finding alternatives to AFFF that must be equally effective in fire suppression without the associated toxic effects.
  • Liability for civil services: Public services, such as fire departments, may face accountability for previous AFFF use, contributing to local environmental degradation and potential health risks for firefighters and residents.

These instances underscore the critical need for effective policies and practices to manage and mitigate the environmental and public health impacts of toxic AFFF.

Strategies for Managing AFFF Exposure Risks

Effectively managing AFFF (Aqueous Film-Forming Foam) exposure risks focuses on both preventative measures for at-risk populations, such as firefighters and industries, and remediation techniques.

Strategies for Managing AFFF Exposure Risks

Through a comprehensive approach, it’s possible to mitigate the risks associated with AFFF exposure.

Here are the specific strategies that can mitigate risks associated with AFFF exposure:

Preventative Measures for Firefighters and Industries

For firefighters and industries that frequently use AFFF, the emphasis is on reducing exposure through preventive actions.

These measures are crucial for safeguarding against the health risks posed by PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) contained within AFFF:

  • Use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): The adoption of appropriate protective gear—gloves, masks, and chemical-resistant suits—is essential to prevent direct contact with AFFF and its toxic components.
  • Training and Protocols: Rigorous training on the proper use, handling, and storage of AFFF, complemented by the development of standard operating procedures, is vital for minimizing exposure risks.

These preventive strategies are indispensable for ensuring the safety and health of individuals in high-risk professions, providing a first line of defense against AFFF exposure.

Remediation Techniques for AFFF Contamination

Addressing environmental contamination resulting from AFFF use requires the deployment of effective remediation techniques.

These methods aim to manage and minimize the impact of AFFF on the environment:

  1. Containment and Recovery: Swift action to contain AFFF spills and recover the material is crucial for preventing further contamination of soil and water sources.
  2. Activated Carbon Filters: Utilizing activated carbon filters is an effective strategy for removing PFAS from contaminated water, thus mitigating the environmental and health risks associated with these chemicals.

Implementing these remediation strategies is essential for entities dealing with AFFF-related contamination.

Focusing on containment and cleanup efforts makes it possible to address the challenges posed by AFFF use and contribute to the long-term health of affected ecosystems and communities.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the eligibility criteria for participating in an AFFF pancreatic cancer lawsuit?

    Individuals who have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and have a history of exposure to AFFF may be eligible to file a lawsuit.

    The exposure must be sufficiently documented, and plaintiffs must demonstrate that they worked with or around AFFF.

  • Which types of cancer have been linked to AFFF exposure in recent litigation?

    The AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits contend that exposure to toxic chemicals in AFFF, namely per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), is associated with various cancers, including pancreatic, kidney, testicular, prostate, bladder, and liver cancer.

  • What are the latest developments in the AFFF pancreatic cancer litigation?

    Recent litigation has seen multiple cases consolidated into multi-district litigation in the District of South Carolina, streamlining the process for those impacted by AFFF-related cancers seeking justice and potential compensation.

  • Which law firms are considered experts in representing AFFF-related cancer cases?

    Firms with expertise in AFFF-related cancer cases, such as TruLaw, offer their substantial experience and resources devoted to this MDL.

  • How are settlement amounts determined in AFFF pancreatic cancer lawsuit cases?

    Settlement amounts in AFFF-related cancer lawsuits are typically based on factors such as the severity of the illness, projected future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and the strength of the plaintiff’s case regarding AFFF exposure and its link to prostate cancer.

  • What is the process for AFFF pancreatic cancer victims to join a class action lawsuit?

    Victims may join a class action lawsuit or multidistrict litigation by contacting a law firm specializing in AFFF lawsuits and providing documentation of their diagnosis and AFFF exposure.

    If eligible, their attorney will guide them through becoming part of the collective legal action.

Written By:
Jessie Paluch
Jessie Paluch

Experienced Attorney & Legal SaaS CEO

With over 25 years of legal experience, Jessie is an Illinois lawyer, a CPA, and a mother of three.  She spent the first decade of her career working as an international tax attorney at Deloitte.

In 2009, Jessie co-founded her own law firm with her husband – which has scaled to over 30 employees since its conception.

In 2016, Jessie founded TruLaw, which allows her to collaborate with attorneys and legal experts across the United States on a daily basis. This hypervaluable network of experts is what enables her to share reliable legal information with her readers!

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