Geologists Call PFAS “One of the Most Toxic Substances Ever Identified”

PFAS Contamination Drives Geologists to Warn Public About Hazards of These “Forever Chemicals”

For decades, PFAS, or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, remained relatively unknown to the general public. Odd, considering this chemical class contains over 3000 compounds and have been added to products for nearly a century.   

PFAS are manmade chemicals added to some of the most common and popular manufactured goods on the market. Since the 1940’s industries added PFAS to products including paints, plastics, and even microwavable popcorn bags. However, the public has remained oblivious to what they do or why manufacturers add PFAS to many of the most used and recognized household products.

Manufactures designed PFAS chemicals to be incredibly sturdy and resistant to grease, oil, heat, and water, making them ideal for products like firefighting foams and stain- and water-repellent fabrics. Because of this resilient design, for half a century manufacturers have extensively produced PFAS, leading to their widespread use in industries around the globe.

Despite their extensive use, the public has rarely to never heard of the extreme health risks associated with exposure to PFAS. In fact, geologists at the Geological Society of America (GSA) call PFAS “one of the most toxic substances ever identified.” In a recent press release, the GSA identified that even at extremely low concentrations, PFAS are extremely toxic and can cause severe health risks due to bioaccumulation.

PFAS earned the nickname of “forever chemicals,” because they do not break down over time, otherwise known as bioaccumulation. According to leaders in the health community, these compounds stay in the environment and the human body forever, steadily building up as time goes on. The GSA says PFAS can enter into the environment and get transported through groundwater, rivers, and soils, impacting every ecosystem they contact.

“PFAS don’t discriminate,” says Steve Sliver, GSA presenter and lead of Michigan state’s PFAS response team. “The sources are pretty much everywhere.”

Scientists at not only the GSA but the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry agree that this buildup of PFAS can cause severe health conditions over time, some of them potentially deadly. According to these researchers’ studies, the accumulation of PFAS in the body may cause side effects like low infant birth weights, thyroid hormone disruption, negative effects on the immune system, and increased risk of kidney or testicular cancer.

At the GSA’s 2020 Annual Meeting, geologists from across the country discussed the ramifications of PFAS in the environment, hoping to bring national attention to the risks of these substances. One of the presenters, Matt Reeves, a professor at Western Michigan University, said PFAS has bonds that are “among the strongest in all of chemistry,” lending to their nickname of being “forever chemicals.”

"It's almost like armor...we don't have any evidence of degradation of these compounds," Reeves says in an interview with the Geological Society of America.

With the mounting concerns of PFAS exposure across the country, some states have effectively implemented new measures to tackle the problem. Michigan has some of the strictest PFAS regulations in the country, placing the highest safety limit of one PFAS compound at 6 parts per trillion. This limit is far lower than the EPA’s guidelines.

“Michigan is the most proactive state of the nation in characterizing and studying PFAS, and with their legislation,” says Reeves. His talk at the GSA’s Annual Meeting, co-authored by Sliver, highlights the perpetual PFAS cycle on land and the difficulty of remediating sites identified with PFAS.

“Notice we don’t call it a ‘life cycle,’” Reeves says. “It’s a perpetual cycle. Many of these compounds do not naturally degrade, so there's no 'death.'”

PFAS in Firefighting Foam

As concerns continue to rise over PFAS exposure, many firefighters have filed complaints against firefighting foam manufactures for failing to warn them about the risks of PFAS in firefighting foam.

Like other products, manufactures have added PFAS to aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) since the early 20th century. Big-name companies like 3M Company, DuPont, and Chemours produced Class B AFFF to help fight oil and grease fires.

However, these manufactures never warned consumers about the health risks associated with PFAS. Sources say manufactures may have known as early as the 1940's about the risks of cancer but failed to include proper warnings on firefighting foam.

Firefighters in the military, industrial settings, and local fire departments regularly used PFAS-contaminated foam in both training and fire-fighting settings, leaving them exposed to PFAS toxicity. Additionally, many living in communities near firefighting stations, military bases, or industrial sites that used AFFF have found local drinking water has been contaminated by PFAS in firefighting foam run-off. Numerous claims from across the country say PFAS in firefighting foam caused various cancer diagnoses, including testicular cancer, ovarian cancer, skin cancer, and liver cancer.

Were You Exposed to PFAS in Firefighting Foam?

If you were exposed to PFAS in firefighting foam and developed cancer, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Allegations from across the country indicate AFFF manufacturers hid the health risks of PFAS for nearly a century, neglecting your well-being. Their negligence could mean the suffering of, potentially, millions over the last few decades, and this negligence should not remain unchecked.

By filing a product liability claim against AFFF manufacturers, you can hold the manufacturers accountable for their actions and protect future users of AFFF. Along with holding manufacturers responsible for their negligence, you have the opportunity to get the compensation you deserve to help you recover from your PFAS-related injuries. Those filing claims against AFFF makers are seeking compensation to help cover financial burdens caused by their PFAS injuries, including medical monitoring, medical bills, pain & suffering, and loss of income.

By hiring the lawyers with Justice for Firefighters for your case, you not only receive years of extensive legal experience on your side, but you also get someone who will fight aggressively for the success of your case from start to finish. Reach out to us today for your free case evaluation to see if you may qualify to file a claim for your PFAS-related injuries.

Firefighting Foam Exposure Caused Fatal Leukemia, Wrongful Death Lawsuit Claims

The wife of an ex-firefighter filed a wrongful death lawsuit against firefighting foam manufacturers, claiming exposure to toxic chemicals in the foam caused her husband to develop and die from acute myeloid leukemia (AML). This lawsuit joins hundreds of others from across the U.S., each alleging toxic foam caused individuals to develop severe injuries.

Last week Deidre Culhane filed her complaint in the U.S. District Court from the District of Southern California. The claim, brought forward on behalf of her and her late husband David, claims he was exposed to toxic aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) for nearly 40 years during his career as a firefighter.

Ms. Culhane indicates in the lawsuit that her husband was regularly exposed to firefighting foam during his time as a firefighter at the Arlington Fire Department. A year after he retired, Culhane was diagnosed with AML, which caused his death several months later. There was no prior family history of AML.

“Slowly and tortuously, Mr. Culhane was overcome by the disease,” Ms. Culhane states in the lawsuit. “On July 18, 2018, he finally succumbed to the cancer and passed away in the presence of his family. The last year of Mr. Culhane’s life could best be described as a perilous struggle against a disease whose origin was still a mystery to his family and him. It remained a mystery until October 2019, when Plaintiff discovered information about AFFF being a human carcinogen.”

The lawsuit calls out several manufacturers and distributors of firefighting foam as defendants. AFFF manufactures named in the lawsuit include 3M Company, Chemguard, Kidde-Fenwal, Inc., and the Chemours Company.

Toxic Firefighting Foam Side Effects

AFFF foam has been actively used by military bases, airports, and civilian fire fighting organizations for decades. However, recent research has found that chemicals added to fire fighting foam can be toxic to human health.

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are man-made chemicals designed to resist grease, oil, water and heat. AFFF manufacturers have added PFAS to their foam since the 1940’s to help fight oil-based fires, but these chemicals can be found in everything from plastics to furniture.

Recent studies uncovered PFAS can build up inside of the body and never break down, causing severe side effects. According to health officials at the FDA, CDC, and American Cancer Society (ACS), PFAS can increase individuals’ risk of developing cancer. Lawsuits brought forward by those injured by firefighting foam exposure claim PFAS in AFFF caused cancer diagnoses including testicular, pancreatic, ovarian, and liver cancer.  

“Defendants in this case knew the risks AFFF presented to the health of human beings,” the lawsuit states. “They knew that the users of PFAS containing AFFF would most often be those who take on the most sacred of public charges. But instead of informing the selfless public servants, giving them a chance to choose if the risk was worth the use, Defendants simply took that agency away from people like David Culhane.”

In December 2018, lawsuits against firefighting foam manufacturers for PFAS exposure where centralized as part of a multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina for pretrial proceedings.

Bill Proposes Firefighting Foam Phase-Out in the Defense Department

Recent legislation brought forward in the Senate calls for the defense department to phase out the use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) by the military. This suggestion comes up amid recent health and environmental concerns that chemicals in AFFF foam cause cancer.

This new legislation was first brought up earlier in June by the Senate Armed Services Committee. In their 2021 fiscal year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the committee included new stipulations about addressing the growing health concerns of exposure to firefighting foam.

The NDAA lines out requirements for the Secretary of Defense to “conduct a survey and market research of available firefighting technologies or substances to facilitate the phase-out of fluorinated aqueous film-forming foam.”

AFFF has been actively used by both military and civilian firefighters since the 1960’s. Currently, the military holds enormous stockpiles of firefighting foam on bases across the U.S.

However, growing numbers of military and civilian firefighters claim toxic chemicals in firefighting foam have caused them to develop severe health conditions, namely cancer.  

Class B firefighting foam, the kind used by the military, contains chemicals called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These are human-made chemicals designed to resist grease, oil, water, and heat.

Since the 1940’s PFAS have been added into firefighting foams to help battle oil-based fires. However, both the Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection agency have found that PFAS build up inside of the body and never break down, increasing the risk of cancer.

Aware of the growing health concerns over PFAS, the Senate Armed Services Committee have included stipulations in the bill that increase spending for the CDC to assess the health risks of PFAS. This bill now awaits approval by the full Senate.

Firefighting Foam Lawsuits

A number of firefighting foam lawsuits across the nation claim AFFF has caused firefighters to develop severe cancer diagnoses. Individuals filing AFFF injury lawsuits say PFAS buildup caused cancer diagnoses including testicular, kidney, and pancreatic cancer.

Additionally, individuals living near military bases have found their water supplies were contaminated by PFAS. AFFF is used for both active use and training purposes, so toxic foam from training can settle into the areas surrounding military bases. Communities near military bases have found local drinking water contains high levels of PFAS from AFFF runoff.

Health officials say PFAS take thousands of years to break down, so they enter and stay in the environment and human body for a long time. Some U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studies have shown PFAS could likely be found in the blood of 98% of the U.S. population.

The growing number of firefighting foam cancer lawsuits have been centralized as part of a multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. These cases now await pretrial proceedings. If you were exposed to toxic firefighting foam, you may be entitled to compensation for your PFAS injuries. Claims brought forward in AFFF lawsuits say firefighting foam manufacturers knew of the health risks of PFAS for decades. Even with this knowledge, they failed to warn consumers about the health risks of PFAS in firefighting foam.

A manufacturer's failure to make sure their product is safe should not mean you have to suffer. Because of their negligence, you deserve compensation to help you heal and recover. If you were diagnosed with cancer after exposure to toxic firefighting foam, reach out to us today. We can connect you to the legal help you need to help you recover the cash award you deserve.

Connect with our caring legal professionals today at 1.800.935.3533; we're available 24/7 and offer free case evaluations around the clock.

Firefighting Foam Contamination: Who’s at Risk?

Many think firefighters are the only group of people at risk of exposure to toxic firefighting foam. However, recent reports discovered people residing around areas that use AFFF foam have high levels of “forever chemicals” in their blood.

For decades military bases have been using and stockpiling firefighting foam for training and firefighting purposes. Now, researchers have discovered chemicals in AFFF foam can cause cancer and other severe side effects.

Since the 1940’s manufacturers of firefighting foam added perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to AFFF. PFAS are human-made chemicals that can be resistant to grease, oil, water, and heat.

However, PFAS have been found to build up inside of the body and never break down, causing individuals’ cancer diagnoses. Across the country individuals are finding that their exposure to PFAS in firefighting foam has caused their cancer diagnoses, including kidney, liver, and testicular cancer.

Airport, military, and civilian firefighters are not the only individuals at risk of toxic firefighting foam exposure. While firefighters are at high risk of developing cancer from PFAS in AFFF, property owners and communities around military bases, airports and incinerators where PFAS firefighting foam is used and burned could be at risk of exposure.

A report in Chemical & Engineering News discovered that “Airports and military bases use large amounts of firefighting foams for training purposes, and in some cases, the perfluorinated surfactants have slipped into groundwater and surface water supplies,” potentially putting surrounding communities in danger.

Firefighting foam runoff can contaminate well water and public drinking water. This can potentially cause cancer in people exposed to PFAS in firefighting foam.

In fact, in 2016 the military warned that there could be potential firefighting foam contamination near 664 different military sites across the nation.  AFFF was commonly used during training exercises at these facilities, and the toxic chemicals may have contaminated water in surrounding communities.

Were You Exposed to Toxic Firefighting Foam?

If you or a loved one was exposed to toxic firefighting foam and developed cancer, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. According to allegations brought forward in firefighting foam lawsuits, AFFF manufacturers knew about the dangers of PFAS in firefighting foam and still sold toxic foam to the public. Because of their negligence, thousand of individuals in the U.S. could be at risk of developing cancer, requiring constant medical monitoring and treatment.

At Justice for Firefighters, we’re here to make sure AFFF manufactures are held accountable for their negligence. We fight aggressively for your right to compensation for your injuries, so you have your best chance at recovery and healing. We take the hassle out of filing a claim for you so you can focus on your life, not cutting through the red tape of the justice system.

To speak to a legal professional today about whether you may be able to recover compensation, contact us today at 1.800.935.3533. We offer free, no-obligation case evaluations and have live professionals standing by 24/7 to answer your questions and concerns.

Which Companies are Responsible for PFAS in Firefighting Foam?

In recent years researchers have found that chemicals in firefighting foams, or aqueous film forming foams (AFFF), are potentially carcinogenic and may contribute to firefighters and exposed individuals’ cancer diagnoses. For decades many of the most popular firefighting foams on the market have contained per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), chemicals which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicate can cause cancer and other adverse symptoms in those exposed. Some of the most at-risk individuals for firefighting foam cancer are military, local, and industrial firefighters.

According to firefighting foam cancer lawsuits being filed across the nation, AFFF manufacturers knew about the dangers of PFAS chemicals for decades, potentially back to when they were first introduced in the 1940’s. However, these companies continued to make and sell them without properly warning the public about the health risks. For example, the state of New Hampshire is suing eight companies for PFAS in firefighting foams, saying that their products were defective and unreasonable dangerous to consumers and users.

Firefighting Foam Manufacturers

If a company failed to take proper precautions to protect consumers from health risks, they can be held responsible for your injuries. Some manufacturers named as defendants in firefighting foam lawsuits across the nation include the following:

Were You Diagnosed with Cancer After Exposure to AFFF?

If you are a firefighter, were exposed to PFAS in firefighting foam, and developed cancer, you may be eligible to file a claim against companies that made firefighting foam and contributed to your injuries.

A company’s lack of proper safety warning should never define your suffering and injuries. Hold the negligent responsible and call us today. The personal injury attorneys at Justice for Firefighters have decades of combined experience fighting for the rights of injured individuals. For your free case consultation, contact us today at 1.800.935.3533.

What are PFAS in Firefighting Foam?

Across America, firefighters are finding that their various cancer diagnoses were caused by chemicals in firefighting foam, ones that researchers say stick around in the human body forever: PFAS. But, what actually are PFAS, and how have they caused the suffering of potentially thousands of firefighters across the United States?

PFAS Definition

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), PFAS are a type of man-made chemicals found in products commonly used by industry and consumers. PFAS stands for per- and polyfluroalkyl substances and have been manufactured in the United States since the 1940’s. PFAS have been found to be resilient in the environment and human body, so they don’t break down over time, hence how they received the nickname of "forever chemicals."

How Do I Get Exposed to PFAS?

Researchers found many PFAS are resistant to oil, grease, heat, and water, so PFAS have been used in a wide range of products all over the world. Most people get exposed to PFAS through the products they are in, but others can be exposed to PFAS by eating food or water contaminated by PFAS.

Products PFAS have been used in include:

List of PFAS

There are over 5,000 kinds of PFAS, and researchers are still learning about the abilities of each one every day. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists the following three PFAS as the most produced and extensively studied of PFAS:

What Do PFAS Do to Your Body?

Because PFAS have been found to not break down in the body, they accumulate over time and can cause severe health effects. According to the EPA, PFAS have been linked to the following serious health conditions:

PFAS Cancer

Across the country, firefighters and others exposed to PFAS are coming forward, finding their cancer diagnoses were caused by their exposure to PFAS in firefighting foam and other products. Claims made by injured firefighters across the country claim PFAS caused them to develop the following kinds of cancer:

Why Do I Need Legal Help after Being Exposed to PFAS?

If you were exposed to PFAS in firefighting foams or other products and developed cancer, it may be in your best interest to file a claim against the product’s manufacturer. Allegations say many firefighting foam manufacturers knew the severe health risks of PFAS and failed to warn the public.

If you developed cancer after exposure to firefighting foam, reach out to us today for your free, no-obligation case evaluation. We can walk you through the process of obtaining justice, so you don’t suffer in silence! Contact our legal representatives today at 1.800.935.3533.

Chemicals in Firefighting Foam ‘Stay in Blood and Don’t Leave,’ Scientist Warns

A former scientist for DuPont Industries reveals man-made chemicals frequently found in firefighting foam can stay in the blood and never leave, leading to severe health issues. Now, DuPont faces legal fire for knowingly selling products with PFAS and failing to disclose the health risks of PFAS exposure.

Aria Bendrix for Business Insider reports the story of Glenn Evans, a former chemical engineer for DuPont Industries. While working for DuPont, Evans designed coatings for food packaging products using paper.

However, Evans discovered that the chemical they used to coat these products, Zonly RP, contained a type of per-and polyfluroalkyl substance (PFAS). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports PFAS has been linked to severe health issues including cancer, reproduction, liver damage, and developmental issues.

Evans found that Zonyl RP was entering the public’s food at three times the rate that DuPont told to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Testifying before Congress in July of 2019, DuPont has allegedly known for decades the dangers of PFAS and failed to communicate the risks to the public. Evans called for Congress to ban the use of PFAS.

"It doesn't go away. This is a man-made chemical," said Evers. "We just pass the baton to our generations of kids."

To read Aria Bendrix’s report for Business Insider, click here.

History of PFAS

PFAS gained popularity in the United States in the 1940s. Manufacturing companies frequently used them in products after discovering they could resist grease, stains, heat, and even water. PFAS have been included in many plastic products, food packaging, furniture, and firefighting foam.

However, studies over the last few decades have found PFAS stay around and can stay in water and air for years on end. Since this discovery, PFAS have been dubbed “forever chemicals.” Similarly, if one inhales PFAS, they could potentially stay in the body forever.

PFAS in Firefighting Foam

PFAS in firefighting foam has become a newfound epidemic in the last few years. Because of PFAS’s ability to resist both heat, grease, and water, manufacturers have used PFAS in firefighting foams to battle grease-based fires. Industries that use firefighting foams not only include local firefighting departments, but military, airport, and industrial firefighters.

However, firefighters are starting to find that their cancer diagnoses were caused by their exposure to firefighting foam. According to recent lawsuits, PFAS in firefighting foam has caused firefighters to develop cancers including testicular, bladder, ovarian, and kidney cancer among others.

PFAS has been used in firefighting foams since the 1940’s, so thousands of firefighters could be at risk of PFAS in firefighting foam cancer. If you were exposed to firefighting foam containing PFAS and developed cancer, help is at hand. You may be entitled to a cash settlement to cover financial burdens caused by your cancer. Connect with us today and we’ll answer any questions you may have about whether you may be entitled to file a claim for firefighting foam cancer. Call now at 1.800.935.3533.