Air Force Firefighting Foam 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 contains harmful PFAS chemicals linked to cancers and other health issues, leading to over 100 new legal claims each month.
  • Victims of AFFF exposure in the military or near bases are fighting for compensation due to its long-term health risks.
  • The EPA's proposed drinking water standards highlight the dangers of PFAS, becoming critical evidence in lawsuits.

Overview of the Air Force Firefighting Foam Lawsuit

On this page, we’ll discuss an overview of the Air Force Firefighting Foam Lawsuit, preventative measures of AFFF exposure, history of AFFF use in the Air Force, and much more.

Air Force Firefighting Foam Lawsuit

Intro to the Air Force Firefighting Foam Lawsuit

Exposure to firefighting foam used by the Air Force has been associated with a range of severe health conditions.

Important aspects in the Air Force firefighting foam litigation include:

  • Eligibility for filing a lawsuit;
  • Health conditions linked to firefighting foam exposure;
  • Pursuing compensation for damages;
  • The role of the Air Force and foam manufacturers; and
  • Seeking legal advice.

If you’ve suffered from health issues after exposure to firefighting foam used by the Air Force, 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 Air Force firefighting foam claim.

Table of Contents

History of AFFF in the Air Force

The Air Force has used Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) for decades to fight fuel fires effectively.

History of AFFF in the Air Force

Developed in the 1960s, AFFF was praised for its ability to quickly suppress intense flames.

However, its widespread use has led to growing concerns over environmental and health impacts.

Development and Adoption

AFFF was developed to address the unique challenges of combating high-intensity fuel fires.

Its adoption by the Air Force marked a significant advancement in firefighting technology.

These developments can be summarized as follows:

  • Creation in the 1960s for military use
  • Rapid adoption due to its effectiveness against fuel fires
  • Incorporation into civilian firefighting protocols
  • Continuous use across Air Force bases worldwide

If you’ve suffered from health issues after exposure to firefighting foam used by the Air Force, 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 Air Force firefighting foam claim.

Regulatory Standards

In response to growing concerns about the environmental and health impacts of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS), including those found in Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) regulatory bodies.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have significantly ramped up their efforts to manage and mitigate these risks.

The EPA has developed a comprehensive strategy that includes the following key points:

  • Guidelines for Safe Use and Disposal: The EPA has laid out a new framework for addressing new and existing uses of PFAS under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). This framework aims to ensure that before PFAS chemicals are allowed to enter the market, they undergo a thorough review to ascertain their safety for human health and the environment.
  • Development of Alternatives with Lower Environmental Impact: The EPA’s actions also include proposals to regulate PFAS under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act to effectively prevent PFAS pollution.
  • Efforts to Remediate Contaminated Sites: One of the cornerstone efforts is the proposal to establish legally enforceable levels for six PFAS known to occur in drinking water.
  • Implementation of Training Protocols to Minimize Exposure: To further reduce the risk of PFAS exposure, the EPA and Naval Air Warfare Center have proposed several actions, including the establishment of national drinking water standards for specific PFAS, significant investment in infrastructure to address emerging contaminants in drinking water, and guidance on incorporating PFAS considerations into Clean Water Act permitting processes.

These changes highlight the balance between firefighting effectiveness and environmental health concerns.

They also underscore the importance of ongoing research and regulation to safeguard both human health and the environment.

Composition and Use

AFFF is a synthetic foam designed to combat Class B fires fueled by flammable liquids such as oils, gasoline, and jet fuels.

It spreads a water-based solution that forms a film, smothering the flames and cutting off the fire’s oxygen supply.

Its use spans various high-risk industries, including military applications, emergency response scenarios by the Air Force, and civil firefighters.

Health Impact of AFFF Firefighting Foam

Exposure to AFFF used in firefighting exercises by the Air Force has raised significant health concerns.

Health Impact of AFFF Firefighting Foam

Studies have identified per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in AFFF as potential carcinogens.

Individuals exposed to these chemicals, especially firefighters and military personnel, face a heightened risk of developing various health conditions.

Risk of Various Forms of Cancer: AFFF MDL

Litigations against AFFF manufacturers have surged as the link between PFAS exposure and cancer becomes clearer.

Claimants in the multidistrict litigation (MDL) argue that prolonged exposure to PFAS-laden foam has led to an increased incidence of specific cancers.

To underline the gravity of these concerns, consider the following types of cancer associated with AFFF exposure:

  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: A direct correlation between AFFF exposure and an elevated risk of this lymphatic system cancer has been documented.
  • Prostate cancer: Male firefighters and military personnel exposed to AFFF have reported higher instances of prostate cancer.
  • Kidney cancer: Research indicates a significant association between PFAS exposure from AFFF and kidney and bladder cancer development.
  • Testicular cancer: Among the various cancers linked to AFFF, testicular cancer stands out for its strong association with PFAS exposure.

Toxicity Studies Conducted on PFAS and AFFF

The toxicity of PFAS, the key component of AFFF, has been the subject of numerous studies.

These investigations aim to understand the mechanisms by which PFAS affect human health and to quantify the risks associated with exposure.

Exploring the depth of research, we find that studies on PFAS and AFFF have revealed:

  • Alterations in liver function: PFAS exposure has been shown to cause changes in liver enzymes and liver health.
  • Immune system effects: Significant impacts on the immune system, including reduced vaccine efficacy, have been documented.
  • Developmental effects: Exposure to PFAS during critical developmental periods can lead to adverse outcomes in both animals and humans.
  • Cholesterol levels: An association between PFAS exposure and elevated cholesterol levels, a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, has been observed.

Toxic Chemicals and Health Risks

The chemicals of critical concern in AFFF are per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), often dubbed “forever chemicals” due to their environmental persistence and resistance to degradation.

Exposure to PFAS has been linked to a spectrum of health risks, including an increased likelihood of developing various cancers, endocrine disruption, and other chronic conditions.

These health implications have been a focal point in the Air Force Firefighting Foam Lawsuit, as affected parties seek accountability for the negative health outcomes attributed to PFAS exposure.

Environmental Effects of AFFF

Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) has significant environmental impacts, particularly regarding water pollution and regulatory scrutiny.

The presence of PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ in AFFF contributes to its persistence and raises concerns over water safety and ecological health.

Water Contamination

AFFF is linked to the contamination of groundwater and drinking water supplies.

These products contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are resistant to degradation and can seep into water sources.

Studies have identified that communities with heavy AFFF use often find contaminated drinking water with elevated levels of PFAS chemicals.

As these substances break down very slowly, they remain in water systems and accumulate over time, making their way into the human body through consumed water or foods.

Regulatory Actions

In response to the environmental concerns raised by persistent pollutants, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has initiated actions to regulate and manage the use of firefighting foams containing PFAS.

The goal is to lessen the release of these harmful chemicals into the environment.

Efforts include setting advisory levels for PFAS in water and developing plans for monitoring and remediating contaminated sites.

Despite these actions, substantial challenges remain in fully addressing the legacy and ongoing impact of PFAS substances from AFFF on the environment.

Legal Landscape of AFFF Litigation

The legal terrain surrounding Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) is defined by notable class action lawsuits and multi-district litigations, reflecting the scale of concern over AFFF’s potential impacts on health and the environment.

Legal Landscape of AFFF Litigation

AFFF Air Force Firefighting Foam Lawsuit

The AFFF lawsuits represent a critical response to the alarming environmental and health ramifications linked to PFAS exposure.

Plaintiffs in these cases often include a broad spectrum of individuals, from firefighters to residents of contaminated areas, seeking accountability and remediation.

In exploring the nuances of these lawsuits, consider the following key components:

  • The legal claims focus on negligence, failure to warn, and manufacturing defects.
  • Plaintiffs span a diverse group, including military personnel, firefighters, and communities near contaminated sites.
  • Allegations include significant health risks and environmental damage due to PFAS exposure.
  • The legal proceedings aim to achieve compensation for damages, medical monitoring, and clean-up efforts.

The evolution of these lawsuits underscores a growing recognition of the need for stringent regulatory measures and comprehensive health studies to address the PFAS crisis effectively.

AFFF Lawsuit: Multi-District Litigation (MDL No. 2873)

The consolidation into Multi-District Litigation (MDL) represents a strategic approach by the plaintiffs.

This legal mechanism ensures a streamlined process for handling common factual questions, facilitating a more unified resolution.

Several critical aspects characterize the MDL framework:

  1. Centralization of cases to a single court to optimize pre-trial proceedings.
  2. Coordination among plaintiffs’ attorneys to consolidate efforts and resources.
  3. Facilitation of settlement discussions and trial preparations on a mass scale.
  4. Preservation of individual case specifics for eventual trial considerations.

Through the MDL, the judiciary seeks to address the volume of AFFF claims while respecting the unique aspects of each plaintiff’s claim, setting a precedent for future environmental and health-related lawsuits.

Filing an Air Force Firefighting Foam Lawsuit

Potential plaintiffs must demonstrate a direct link between their diagnosis and exposure to AFFF to participate in the Air Force Firefighting Foam Lawsuit.

Filing an Air Force Firefighting Foam Lawsuit

Determining Eligibility in the AFFF MDL

This process involves reviewing medical records, exposure history, and the specific circumstances of each case.

In considering eligibility, factors include:

  • Proof of direct exposure to AFFF, especially in occupational settings or areas of environmental contamination.
  • A medically confirmed diagnosis of ulcerative colitis post-exposure.
  • The absence of significant risk factors for ulcerative colitis unrelated to AFFF exposure.
  • The timing between AFFF exposure and the onset of ulcerative colitis symptoms.

Other Cancers and Illnesses

AFFF exposure has been linked to a range of other health issues, particularly cancers and immune system disorders.

The persistent nature of PFAS compounds in AFFF contributes to long-term health risks.

Conditions potentially associated with AFFF exposure include:

  • Various types of cancer, including kidney, testicular, and prostate cancers.
  • Immune system disorders, such as decreased vaccine response and increased susceptibility to infections.
  • Liver and thyroid disease, reflecting PFAS’s disruptive impact on organ function and hormonal balance.
  • Developmental delays and fertility issues, underscoring concerns for pregnant women and children exposed to AFFF.

If you’ve suffered from health issues after exposure to firefighting foam used by the Air Force, you may be eligible to take legal action.

Contact TruLaw using the chat on this page to find out if you qualify to file in the Air Force Firefighting Foam Lawsuit.

Case Studies and Precedents

The legal landscape of Air Force Firefighting Foam Lawsuits is marked by significant settlements and historical litigation outcomes that set precedents for subsequent cases.

These legal actions typically revolve around allegations that firefighting foams, particularly those containing PFAS, have caused health issues such as cancer.

Notable Settlements

In recent history, a notable settlement involving major chemical manufacturers was reached.

Details from a February update in 2024 indicate that a federal judge has granted final approval to a $1.18 billion settlement.

This settlement addressed contamination of drinking water with PFAS substances and involved well-known entities like DuPont, Chemours, and Corteva.

Historical Litigation Outcomes

The United States District Court has presided over numerous cases about firefighting foam.

Precedent-setting mass tort cases have been instrumental in shaping the litigation strategies and outcomes of individual lawsuits.

For instance, over 6400 cases were part of the AFFF litigation as of early 2024, according to a comprehensive update on the litigation.

This has underscored the role of courts in addressing the ramifications of hazardous substances and setting up a legal framework for individuals and municipalities seeking justice.

Role of Firefighting Foam Lawyers

In the realm of AFFF litigation, Firefighting Foam Lawyers play a pivotal role, offering specialized expertise and guiding claimants through complex legal processes.

These legal professionals are instrumental in advancing Personal Injury Claims related to AFFF exposure.

Expert Legal Support

Firefighting Foam Lawyers are well-versed in the scientific and medical aspects of AFFF-related injuries.

They provide critical legal advice to individuals who have been exposed to harmful substances in firefighting foams and are experiencing health issues.

Given the complexities of such cases, this expertise is essential, which often involves intricate details regarding chemical exposure and its effects on health.

These attorneys seek to establish a strong connection between exposure and illness, which is a crucial element for a successful personal injury claim.

Navigating the Legal System

These lawyers are adept at navigating the legal system, specifically within the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) framework, where such cases are consolidated.

For instance, the District of South Carolina is a significant venue for AFFF litigation, where many lawsuits have been centralized for pretrial proceedings.

Lawyers specializing in AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits provide representation throughout the process, from filing lawsuits to advocating for clients in court.

Their representation is particularly important when dealing with the multi-faceted nature of MDLs, which is designed to streamline the legal process for similar cases.

Resources for Affected Parties

The lawsuit surrounding Air Force Firefighting Foam highlights significant environmental and health concerns due to the contamination of water sources and lands with PFAS chemicals.

Resources for Affected Parties

These resources aim to assist individuals and families in navigating the complexities of health, legal, and environmental concerns associated with AFFF exposure.

From legal assistance to health monitoring, these resources provide critical support to those impacted.

Support Groups and Organizations

Various support groups and organizations offer a community and resources for individuals affected by AFFF exposure.

These entities provide emotional support, advocacy, and information about legal rights and health monitoring programs.

To connect with communities that understand your journey, consider the following options:

  • AFFF Exposure Support Groups: Online and local communities offering shared experiences, advice, and support.
  • Environmental Health Organizations: Groups dedicated to raising awareness and promoting action on environmental health issues, including PFAS pollution.
  • Veterans’ Health Organizations: Services and support specifically tailored to veterans exposed to AFFF during their service.
  • Legal Aid Societies: Organizations providing free legal advice and representation for those considering action in the AFFF litigation.

If you’ve suffered from health issues after exposure to firefighting foam used by the Air Force, 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 Air Force firefighting foam claim.

Cancer Research and Information

Access to accurate and up-to-date information on the health implications of AFFF exposure, including cancer research, is crucial for affected individuals and their families.

These resources offer insights into the latest findings and health advisories.

Stay informed with these reputable sources of cancer research and information:

  • National Cancer Institutes: Governmental and nonprofit organizations conducting and disseminating research on cancer linked to AFFF exposure.
  • Health Advocacy Groups: Organizations that compile data, research, and stories related to the health impacts of PFAS and other chemicals.
  • Medical Journals: Publications featuring peer-reviewed studies on the effects of PFAS exposure on human health.
  • Informational Websites: Sites dedicated to providing the public with easy-to-understand information on pancreatic cancer risks and prevention strategies.

It is in the best interest of affected individuals to utilize these resources to stay informed and to seek professional support for any health concerns related to AFFF exposure.

Preventative Measures and Future Outlook

The Air Force has proactively addressed concerns related to AFFF firefighting foams through policy overhaul and embracing technological solutions.

Policy Changes

The Air Force implemented the AFFF Sundown Policy, mandating the removal of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) from hangar fire suppression systems.

This action aligns with efforts to reduce occupational exposure to substances like perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), which the Environmental Working Group has identified as potentially harmful chemicals.

By March 1, tanks containing AFFF must be locked and tagged for removal, demonstrating a robust commitment to the health and safety of military personnel and the environment.

Technological Advancements

The transition away from PFAS-laden foams has spurred technological innovation.

The Air Force, in collaboration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is at the forefront of introducing advanced fire suppressants that minimize environmental impact while maintaining fire suppression effectiveness.

These new foams are designed to be just as effective as AFFF in suppressing class B fires—fires involving flammable liquids like gasoline—without including harmful PFAS compounds.

The shift represents a critical step in reducing future environmental working group concerns and mitigating health risks associated with AFFF firefighting foams.

If you’ve suffered from health issues after exposure to firefighting foam used by the Air Force, 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 Air Force firefighting foam claim.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the eligibility criteria for participating in the AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit?

    Individuals eligible to participate in the lawsuit typically include military and civilian firefighters who used AFFF and subsequently developed health issues potentially linked to the foam’s toxic substances.

  • What symptoms should one look out for that may be linked to AFFF exposure?

    The symptoms linked to AFFF exposure can include health problems such as cancer, liver damage, and thyroid cancer, which may arise due to the presence of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in AFFF.

  • What are the recent developments in the firefighting foam litigation process?

    There have been updates in the litigation process, with ongoing case consolidations and pretrial proceedings focused on addressing the complexities of the multi-district litigation involving numerous plaintiffs.

  • How are settlement amounts being determined for the AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit?

    Settlement amounts in the AFFF lawsuit are being determined based on the severity of each plaintiff’s condition, the extent of exposure, and the impact of the exposure on the plaintiff’s health and livelihood.

  • What is the timeline for the resolution of the AFFF firefighting foam lawsuit?

    The resolution timeline is not fixed and continues to evolve, as the legal process will consider the high volume of cases and the coordination among the various courts handling the lawsuits.

  • Are Navy personnel affected by AFFF exposure eligible for compensation through the lawsuit?

    Navy and Air Force personnel who have suffered health problems due to AFFF exposure are eligible to file as part of the firefighting foam litigation.

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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