Toxic Foam, Health Risks, and Legal Action: Understanding the AFFF Lawsuit

Firefighting foam has long been considered a crucial tool for extinguishing fires, particularly those involving flammable liquids such as oil and gasoline. However, a type of firefighting foam known as aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) has recently come under fire due to its potential environmental and health hazards. 

As a result, numerous communities across the United States have filed lawsuits against AFFF manufacturers, alleging that they knowingly exposed the public to dangerous levels of PFAS. 

In this article, we will examine the AFFF lawsuit in-depth, exploring the science behind the health risks, the legal battle against AFFF, and the implications of the lawsuits for public health and environmental justice.

Let’s get started!

What is AFFF, and Why is it Controversial?

Aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) is a type of firefighting foam that has been used since the 1960s to extinguish fires involving flammable liquids such as gasoline, jet fuel, and oil. AFFF is particularly effective in smothering these fires because it forms a blanket of foam that covers the fuel’s surface, separating it from the air and suppressing the flames. 

However, while AFFF may be useful in putting out fires, its use has led to severe environmental and health consequences due to the presence of per and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

PFAS are synthetic chemicals that are commonly used in a variety of industrial and consumer products, including non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, and firefighting foam. PFAS are persistent and do not break down easily in the environment, which can accumulate in soil, water, and living organisms over time. Studies have linked PFAS exposure to numerous health problems, including liver and kidney damage, thyroid dysfunction, and cancer.

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), PFAS contamination has been found in at least 2,858 sites across the United States, including military bases, airports, and drinking water supplies. 

AFFF is a significant contributor to PFAS contamination, with some estimates suggesting that more than 99% of the PFAS in firefighting foam is released into the environment during training exercises and emergency responses.

The Health Risks of AFFF: Understanding the Science Behind the Lawsuits

One of the most significant health risks associated with AFFF is its potential to cause cancer. PFAS have been classified as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a subsidiary of the World Health Organization (WHO). Studies have linked PFAS exposure to increased risks of various types of cancer, including kidney cancer, testicular cancer, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

According to a study published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, PFAS levels in groundwater at U.S. military installations were significantly higher in areas where AFFF had been used. The study found that in some areas, PFAS levels were even higher than the EPA’s recommended health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion. This has led to concerns about the potential for PFAS exposure among military personnel and nearby communities.

In addition to cancer, exposure to PFAS has also been linked to other health problems, including immune system dysfunction, reproductive issues, and developmental delays. The long-term health effects of PFAS exposure are still being studied, but many experts agree that the risks are significant and that action is needed to protect public health.

The Legal Battle Against AFFF: An Overview of the Lawsuits and Their Progress

As the public has become more aware of the environmental and health risks associated with AFFF, many communities have taken legal action against AFFF manufacturers, alleging that they knowingly exposed the public to dangerous levels of PFAS. As of March 2023, more than 2500 lawsuits have been filed against AFFF manufacturers in federal courts across the United States, with many more expected in the coming months.

The lawsuits against AFFF manufacturers generally fall into two categories: personal injury and environmental contamination. Personal injury lawsuits involve individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer or other health problems as a result of exposure to PFAS, while environmental contamination lawsuits involve communities and organizations that have been impacted by PFAS contamination in their water, soil, or air.

Seeking legal help is crucial for those who have been affected by AFFF contamination. A qualified attorney can help individuals and communities navigate the legal system, gather evidence, and pursue compensation from manufacturers by filing an AFFF Lawsuit. One law firm that has been involved in the AFFF litigation is TorHoerman Law, LLC.

This firm has a team of attorneys with experience in environmental and toxic tort litigation. They have been helping communities affected by AFFF contamination seek justice and compensation from manufacturers.

The Implications of the AFFF Lawsuits for Public Health and Environmental Justice

The AFFF lawsuits have significant implications for public health and environmental justice. As communities across the country continue to grapple with the impacts of AFFF contamination, the lawsuits have become an important tool for seeking justice and holding manufacturers accountable.

One of the critical implications of the AFFF lawsuits is the need for increased regulation of PFAS and other hazardous chemicals. The lawsuits have highlighted the inadequacy of existing regulations in protecting public health and the environment from the harmful effects of AFFF and other sources of PFAS contamination. As a result, there is growing momentum for stronger regulations and policies to address the risks associated with PFAS.

The lawsuits also have important implications for environmental justice. According to a report by the Environmental Working Group, low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately affected by PFAS contamination, with African American and Latino communities facing higher levels of exposure than white communities.

This is because these communities are often located near industrial sites and military installations where AFFF is used, and have limited resources to address the health and environmental impacts of contamination.


This article provides an overview of the AFFF lawsuits, the potential health and environmental risks associated with AFFF, and the legal actions being taken to address these issues. It is our hope that it will help raise awareness of this important issue, encourage affected individuals to seek legal help, and ultimately contribute to a safer and more just society.

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