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A quick overview of the facts behind Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) and cancers
AFFF has been widely used at a variety of facilities for both training and emergency response purposes, including airports, military bases, firefighting training facilities, oil and gas refineries, as well as petroleum and chemical bulk storage facilities.
AFFF’s ability to extinguish hydrocarbon fires effectively and efficiently has led to its widespread use anywhere liquid and gas-based fires occur.
The Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) and Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Connection
In the past 20 years, numerous studies have linked the use of AFFF to the release of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in the environment.
PFAS in AFFF are toxic and carcinogenic to humans, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
The use of AFFF has released PFAS into the environment in response to emergency situations in mass quantities and in an uncontrolled manner.
Due to its ability to persist in the environment, PFAS can travel long distances in groundwater without breaking down–this can lead to the contamination of drinking water supplies.
How PFAS from AFFFs Enter the Human Body
Environmental investigations at military bases, airports, and firefighting training facilities have indicated the use of PFAS at these sites and have impacted nearby drinking water supplies.
In addition, firefighters and other individuals using AFFF in training and emergency scenarios are vulnerable to PFAS exposure through direct contact, inhalation, and ingestion of the foam during application.
Health studies have found elevated concentrations of PFAS in the blood of firefighters and elevated rates of cancer among those more highly exposed to AFFF.
AFFF is known to cause the following types of cancers & conditions
Kidney cancer - Also called renal cancer, kidney cancer is a disease in which kidney cells become malignant (cancerous) and grow out of control, forming a tumor.
Liver cancer - Symptoms are uncommon in the early stages of liver cancer. Later, symptoms may include weight loss, belly pain, vomiting, and yellowed skin.
Ulcerative colitis - Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel disease. It causes irritation, inflammation, and ulcers in the lining of your large intestine.
Prostate cancer - Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland start to grow out of control. The prostate is a gland found only in males.
Bladder cancer - Bladder cancer starts when cells that make up the urinary bladder start to grow out of control.
Breast cancer - Symptoms of breast cancer include a lump in the breast, bloody discharge from the nipple, and changes in the shape or texture of the nipple or breast.
Testicular cancer - Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in American males between the ages of 15 and 35.
Thyroid cancer - Thyroid cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck.
Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) Manufacturers and Product Names
Ansul/Tyco – Ansulite (Continues to manufacture AFFF and other fluorinated foams. Now a subsidiary of Tyco.)
Chemours – FM-200 (Continues to manufacture AFFF and other fluorinated foams. Former subsidiary of DuPont. Now a subsidiary of Kidde-Fenwal.)
3M – Lightwater (Manufactured only PFOS-based foam. Completed a voluntary phase-out in 2002 in agreement with EPA.)
National Foam, Inc./ Kidde-Fenwal – Aer-O-Lite, Aer-O-Water, Centurion, Universal (Began producing fluorinated foams as early as 1965. Continues to manufacture AFFF and other fluorinated foams. Now a subsidiary of Kidde-Fenwal, a subsidiary of Carrier.)
Chemguard – Chemguard (Continues to manufacture AFFF and other fluorinated foams.)
Buckeye Fire Equipment – Platinum (Legacy AFFF) (Continues to manufacture AFFF and other fluorinated foams.)
We believe that victims of AFFF fire fighting foams–and the families who suffered with them–should be able to address the manufacturers and get the compensation and justice they deserve.
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