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Firefighting Foam Exposure Injuries

David C. Thompson, P.C. Oct. 3, 2023

First responders are used to putting their own lives and physical well-being on the line to help others, but there are times when this sacrifice can have long-lasting negative effects on their health. Exposure to firefighting foam has been linked to the development of severe health problems, sometimes years or decades after the exposure occurred. A diagnosis of chronic or even life-threatening physical issues can leave a person with questions about their present situation and uncertainty about the future. 

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with a severe injury or illness that you believe is the result of firefighting foam exposure, you have the right to take legal action to pursue financial compensation. With the help of an experienced attorney, you can start the process of holding the responsible party accountable and take steps toward obtaining a fair resolution for the suffering that has been caused.  

If you are in the Grand Forks area, Minot, Bismarck, Fargo, or anywhere throughout the state of North Dakota, reach out to David C. Thompson, P.C. today to schedule a consultation to learn more about your legal options. 

What Is Firefighting Foam?

Though it has been used extensively in various professions around the world for decades, firefighting foam has been linked to a wide range of physical maladies suffered by individuals who are exposed to it. While its use became popular due to its flame-retardant capabilities and efficiency in extinguishing burning liquids, more recent research has called into question the plausibility of using it safely. 

Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) 

Firefighting foam (also known as aqueous film-forming foam, or AFFF) has been used since the 1960s in various occupations and industries, including the military, airports, and fire departments. The foam creates a barrier of film on the surface of a burning liquid, simultaneously smothering the flames and lowering the surface temperature of the liquid. 

Per- & Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) 

Both firefighting foam and other types of protective gear used by firefighters have been found to contain per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which include multiple known carcinogens. In addition to the firefighters themselves being at serious risk of developing health problems following exposure to PFAS, contamination of groundwater and soil in communities in which PFAS were used has also been found to put other people in danger. 

Dangers of Firefighting Foam Exposure

The most common type of health ailments developed by individuals exposed to firefighting foam are various forms of cancer. Firefighters, airport staff, military personnel, and other workers who have been exposed to firefighting foam and its ingredients have been shown to be at high risk of developing cancer or other serious issues, including: 

  • Breast cancer 

  • Pancreatic cancer 

  • Thyroid disease 

  • Lymphoma 

  • Testicular cancer 

  • Leukemia 

  • Colorectal cancer 

  • Prostate cancer 

Developing these types of physical problems can have many different results, ranging from the need for long-term medical care to life-altering illnesses or death. An additional risk factor involved with firefighting foam is the fact that PFAS have been categorized as “forever chemicals,” meaning they can be absorbed and remain in a person’s body for years—or even decades—after exposure. Communities in which these substances are used can suffer the effects for many years due to contamination from PFAS being absorbed into the ground. 

Pursuing Compensation

If you or a loved one is suffering due to exposure to firefighting foam, you can file an injury claim to seek compensation. Your attorney can help you assess your condition and determine whether you are eligible to file a claim. Due to the rising number of individuals developing illnesses or injuries from firefighting foam exposure, there are class-action lawsuits currently ongoing. Your attorney will be able to explain this option to you in greater detail and help you determine whether joining a class-action suit is an option for you. 

Get Compassionate Legal Assistance

You don’t have to go through the diagnosis of a serious health problem on your own. In addition to the support and assistance you receive from family, friends, and healthcare professionals, there is legal guidance available to you as you look for answers and consider your options to act against the party responsible for your condition. By working with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney with experience in handling firefighting foam exposure injuries, you can feel confident that your rights will be defended throughout the legal process. 

If you are located anywhere throughout North Dakota, including Fargo, Bismarck, or Minot, and you or a loved one is suffering the effects of firefighting foam exposure, there is compassionate legal advocacy ready to stand by your side as you seek to hold the responsible party accountable. Contact David C. Thompson, P.C. in Grand Forks, North Dakota, today to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation and learn more about what you can do to get started on your injury claim.