AFFF Side Effects
Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), used in fighting petroleum-based fires, contains carcinogens. Therefore, various types of cancers are among the possible side effects experienced by those exposed to it. However, other, less severe conditions may result.
An AFFF lawyer in New York at Douglas and London protects your rights and can help you receive the maximum compensation for your AFFF-related illness.
While firefighters and those in the military are at the highest risk of its side effects, AFFF exposure also results from drinking water contaminated with the substance or eating food grown in contaminated areas. These chemicals contaminate groundwater, soil, and air– in locations where they are used for fighting fires or are manufactured or even stored.
The nature of firefighting with AFFF means that thousands of pounds of the substance are used to combat oil fires, with much of it aerosolized during the process. All it takes are windy conditions or flooding to transfer these chemicals throughout the local environment.
Unfortunately, until the 1990s, firefighters and those in the military were told it was safe. One firefighter, who had served in both military and civilian capacity during his career, told Congress in 2018 that AFFFs were used back then to wash vehicles and clean fire station floors, instead of soap.
AFF Side Effects
As noted above, most of the people exposed to AFFF are either firefighters or in the U.S. military. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) lists medical conditions possibly associated with AFFF exposure. These include:
- Child development issues
- Cholesterol increases
- Fertility problems
- Fetal damage
- Immune system changes
- Liver disease
- Low birth weight
- Pregnancy-induced pre-eclampsia and hypertension
- Thyroid disease
Much depends on an individual’s length of exposure, as well as the AFFF concentration.
AFFF and Cancer
AFFF contains perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), or PFAS. The breakdown of these chemicals is very slow. Anyone exposed to AFFF, either directly or from drinking water, will have those carcinogens in their body for a long time, often the rest of their lives. About half of these chemicals will leave the body within a four to five-year window. The other half may remain for decades. These are man-made, not natural, chemicals, and a complete breakdown may take 100 years.
The malignancies currently identified as potentially AFFF-related include:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Testicular cancer
Some of these cancers are treatable when caught early, but others do not have a good prognosis. In addition, there are often serious side effects of cancer treatment, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Patients may have to take considerable time off work for treatment or may not have the ability to work at all during this period. This can create financial hardship at a time when they are already under a great deal of stress.
Even if a person survives their cancer diagnosis, their lives and that of their families have been changed forever.
Most people have some level of PFAS in their bloodstreams, which is why the VA does not recommend blood tests to determine levels. Further, the VA notes that blood tests alone cannot link to present or future health conditions regarding PFAS or determine future medical issues or treatment.
Contact us at Douglas and London today
If you or a loved one are suffering the side effects of AFFF exposure, contact an AFFF lawyer in New York at Douglas and London. We offer free consultations, so complete our online form or call or text us 24/7 to schedule an appointment. After reviewing your medical history and AFFF exposure, we will discuss your options. That may include joining a class-action lawsuit against various companies, including 3M, that manufactured and distributed it. You may be entitled to compensation. There is never a fee unless we win your case. Hablamos Español.