Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) has been used for decades in the firefighting industry to extinguish fuel fires. Chances are, you have seen them too. They are generally used to fight fires that cannot be controlled through the use of water, especially ones including flammable liquids like petroleum. However, they have some other uses too.
However, Consumernotice.org notes that some types of AFFF contain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a class of man-made chemicals that are highly resistant to degradation and can persist in the environment for long periods of time.
These chemicals have been linked to various health risks, including cancer, thyroid disorders, and other illnesses. As a result, AFFF has come under scrutiny, and legal action has been taken against manufacturers and distributors of AFFF products.
This article will explore the dangers of AFFF exposure and the current state of AFFF lawsuits. It will delve into the health risks associated with exposure to PFAS chemicals, the effects of AFFF contamination on communities, and the ongoing efforts to address these dangers through legal action and regulations.
Health Risks of PFAS Exposer
You might be wondering what exactly are these PFAS chemicals and why they are so dangerous. Well, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) notes that exposure to PFAS can increase the risk of certain cancers, like liver and testicular cancer. These chemicals can also harm the immune system, lower fertility, and increase cholesterol levels.
The thing is, these chemicals are really persistent, meaning they don’t break down easily and can stay in the environment for a long time. That’s why exposure to PFAS can occur through drinking contaminated water, eating contaminated food, or even just living near a facility that uses or manufactures PFAS. And as you can imagine, that’s a problem because it means that people can be exposed to these chemicals for long periods of time.
AFFF Lawsuits and Legal Actions
The question is, what’s being done about all this? Well, there’s been a growing movement to hold manufacturers and distributors of AFFF products accountable for creating and releasing these toxic chemicals into the environment.
A lot of people and communities affected by AFFF contamination have taken legal action against these companies by filing lawsuits. These lawsuits typically seek damages for the harm caused by the release of PFAS chemicals into the environment, as well as for any associated health effects on individuals and communities. AFFF lawsuit settlement amounts generally tend to be pretty high too.
It’s worth noting that these lawsuits can be pretty complicated, and it can take a long time for them to be resolved. But, it’s important to hold these companies accountable for their actions and to try to get compensation for the harm caused by AFFF contamination.
The government is also stepping up to limit PFAS exposure among populations. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently informed the manufacturers, importers, and users of PFAS that no product containing these chemicals can be manufactured in or imported into the US without approval from the EPA. It is also working with concerned parties to phase out their uses.
Effects of AFFF Contamination on Communities
The effects of AFFF contamination on communities can be pretty significant. For one, it can affect the health of people living in those communities, which we’ve talked about before. But it also can have a big impact on the local economy.
For example, when soil and water get contaminated, it can decrease property values and make it difficult for local businesses to operate. And on top of that, cleaning up these contaminated sites can be really expensive and can be a big burden for communities.
Another thing to consider is that these chemicals can travel through the air, water, and soil, so even if a community is not directly impacted by a facility that uses or manufactures AFFF, they can still be affected by the PFAS that have been released into the environment. It’s not just the people living close to the facility but also the people living downstream or downwind.
Reducing Exposure to PFAS
So, now that we know about the risks associated with exposure to PFAS, it’s important to know how to reduce our exposure to these chemicals. One way is to be mindful of the food we eat.
Processed foods, such as fast food, frozen dinners, and pizza, can be high in PFAS, so cutting back on these foods can help lower exposure. Also, it’s a good idea to avoid using non-stick cookware, as these pots and pans can release PFAS into the air when heated.
Another way to reduce exposure is to be mindful of the products we use. Many products, such as food packaging, clothing, and personal care products, can contain PFAS. Reading labels and choosing products that are labeled as PFAS-free can help reduce exposure.
Drinking water can also carry PFAS. If the water source is contaminated, Public Health Madison & Dane County recommends using a water filter. Both activated carbon and reverse osmosis filters can reduce the amount of PFAS in the water.
The effects of AFFF contamination on communities can be significant, including health risks, economic damages, and long-lasting effects on the quality of life. While it is important to fight the good fight against the polluters, it is also important to be smart and avoid being exposed to PFAS.