AFFF Affects Human Immune System & Causes Prostate Cancer: Can You Seek Legal Compensation? 

When you look at a firefighter on duty, you know that their lives are all about gumption and bravery. While that is true partially, it is also necessary to know not everything is as impressive as it appears. There are hidden dangers to this profession. And sadly, it’s the firefighter foam or AFFF they use to extinguish untameable fires that result in health hazards.

AFFF is the central aspect of the fire protection industry. The foam effectively works as a fire suppression tool and extinguishes fatal fires, such as flammable liquid fires. But the PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) that it contains acts as a human carcinogen, according to EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).

Over the years, exposure to this foam has resulted in cancers of various kinds in firefighters and Air Force personnel. Recent findings state that it negatively impacts the human immune system and causes prostate cancer as well. In this article, we will discuss both and also share how victims can seek legal compensation.

Firefighter Foam’s Impact on the Human Immune System in February 2023 shared an in-depth study that was published in the ‘Journal of Immunotoxicology’. The researchers in the study highlighted that exposure to PFAS reduces the capacity of the human body to direct blood cells to fight any invading organisms. Therefore, the human immune system responds questionably to the invaders.

That aside, the study shared findings that can provide strong proof to link how AFFF exposure also leads to the development of cancer in humans. The study is considered an essential resource for lawsuits filed by people who have suffered from pancreatic, bladder, kidney cancer, and other life-threatening health conditions.

Several former firefighters claim that leading chemical manufacturers like 3M Company and DuPont were highly aware of the risks and hazards of cancer. Despite being aware of the harsh reality, they didn’t disclose this data to firefighters, which made them suffer because of PFAS exposure.

Furthermore, the researchers of this study also concentrated on the major effect of PFAS exposure on cultured human cells and zebrafish larvae. Their findings indicate that this fatal chemical exposure, which comprises GenX, a particular compound, can suppress the overall immune system response. This is known as a neutrophil respiratory burst.

The neutrophils are known as white blood cells that are crucial for the immune system. It further attacks every invading pathogen. The neutrophil respiratory burst is known to combat the foreign organisms that enter the body. Therefore, the GenX chemicals have been designed in a way to replace the older and toxic compounds. The researchers said the PFAS chemicals stopped the respiratory burst which weakened the human immune system.

AFFF Can Cause Prostate Cancer

The story of Tracy Mitchem establishes that exposure to AFFF can result in prostate cancer. Tracy, a former Air Force firefighter, stated that the years he spent in his military career exposed him to the toxic firefighter foam. And all through his work tenure never was he warned about the side effects of AFFF.

In his lawsuit, Tracy states that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer back in 2009. He never discovered the correlation between his cancer and AFFF exposure, certainly not till July 2021. Currently, he is pursuing a lawsuit where he named several AFFF manufacturers such as 3M Company, AGC Chemicals Americas, Buckeye Fire Equipment Company, DuPont De Nemours, Tyco Fire Products, and many more.

Additionally, in March 2023, a study was published in Environmental Research which established the fact that PFAS exposure can heighten the risk of prostate cancer. Keeping in mind these studies, many firefighters are now reporting about their ailments caused by exposure to this toxic foam. According to the April 2024 AFFF lawsuit update, close to 568 new cases were added to the MDL. In total, nearly 7,738 cases are pending.

The lawsuits pertaining to AFFF-related cancer and any other health risk comprise complaints from firefighters and other professionals in the fire protection industry. Even the local water suppliers have complained about the costs of reducing PFAS chemicals from the water systems.

TorHoerman Law states that if you or anyone you know has been affected by AFFF exposure, it is necessary to file a lawsuit. For this, it is ideal to get in touch with a lawyer who can let you know whether you qualify for the lawsuit and later help you get the maximum settlement payout possible based on your injuries, exposure duration, and the degree of suffering.

In conclusion, firefighters don’t have it easy when it’s their professional realm. Every day they have to get exposed to the harmful AFFF not knowing that it can lead to cancer or any other health hazards that can reduce their lifespan. Victims of AFFF exposure who’ve had immune system issues and developed prostate cancer can seek both medical and legal aid and raise awareness about this foam.

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