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Is There a Link Between AFFF Exposure and Prostate Cancer?

AFFF

A firefighter’s life is never an easy one. The scene of them marching on a site on fire and extinguishing it might appear brave, and that certainly is. But there is more to their lives than just this. The fire-suppression tool that they use, which is AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam) is what causes various health hazards, including cancer.

In October 2023, AZCentral.com reported on Frank Granados who was introduced to a new firefighting product while training at Tucson Fire Department. It could extinguish dangerous flames within 40 seconds. In terms of smell, it was far better compared to the protein-based ones that were used before containing animal blood.

After the 1980s in Tucson, AFFF was the main foam that was used to extinguish Class B fires, which are also known as flammable liquid fires. However, recently across the globe, air bases and fire districts are replacing AFFF because of increased levels of PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in it.

Granados reported that he lost the majority of his colleagues to cancer that they developed because of AFFF exposure. There have been incidents of this toxic foam leading to prostate cancer, which affected the victim’s quality of life. Here, we will discuss this link and also share how to seek compensation.

Does AFFF Cause Prostate Cancer?

In August 2023, AboutLawsuits.com reported on Tracy Mitchem and his tragic experience with AFFF exposure. In his AFFF lawsuit, he mentioned that his tenure at the Air Force made him get exposed to toxic chemicals which heightened his cancer risk. While he was working as an Air Force firefighter, no one warned him about the carcinogenic chemicals contained in AFFF.

Mitchem mentions that in 2009 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He immediately linked it to getting exposed to the fluorochemicals present in the firefighter foam, which he had to use almost frequently. But he discovered the link between his prostate cancer and this chemical only in July 2021. It’s because the manufacturers never alerted people about its probable dangers.

Prostate cancer occurs when cells in the prostate start growing disproportionately. If not treated on time, it can spread to various parts and organs of the body, thereby making it challenging to arrest, leading to death. 

In March 2023, Environmental Research published a study stating that exposure to PFAS chemicals can heighten the chances of prostate cancer. Mitchem’s lawsuit states that what he had witnessed is common for nationwide military bases. It’s even prevalent in the Air Force, which depends highly on petroleum fuels while using aircraft or any other vehicles.

In 2022, the U.S. Department of Defense carried out a test on the PFAS-polluted areas in military bases in the United States. The results indicated that almost 175,000 people had been exposed to PFAS through their drinking water. However, there are a few environmental groups that said that close to 640,000 residents are affected by toxic AFFF exposure instead.

There are many victims like Mitchem who aren’t able to avoid the use of AFFF at their workplace. As a result, they eventually get affected by this toxic foam and develop prostate cancer and other health issues. It is necessary to keep a tab on one’s health from when the initial symptoms keep surfacing and get a medical diagnosis. If the medical documents establish the link between cancer and toxic foam exposure, it is time to take legal action tanzohub.

How To Obtain Legal Compensation?

Have you developed prostate cancer because of AFFF exposure? If yes, then TruLaw suggests that you get in touch with a lawyer to check if you are eligible to file a lawsuit. The lawyers will study your case and check the medical data you provide to develop a solid case that ensures the verdict is in your favor. Once you get your compensation, you can pay for the necessary medical treatment, expenses, wage loss, and other suffering that you’ve endured.

The settlement payout amount for AFFF’s toxic exposure claim ranges between $200,000 and $600,000. However, for prostate cancer, the payout amount might vary based on your degree of suffering, exposure duration, surgeries that took place, and other case-specific details. The lawyer will let you know that there is no fixed amount, as the payout varies from one case to the other.

In conclusion, it is a known fact that AFFF can cause harmful health hazards that make firefighters die even before their time. Prostate cancer is a life-threatening ailment that can affect the firefighter’s quality of life and lead to high expenses as a part of their medical treatment. Hence, victims must seek legal aid when they have the required healthcare data, which establishes the link between the disease and toxic foam.

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