For decades, firefighting foam has been used to extinguish large-scale fires. However, recent studies have shown that firefighting foam, specifically Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF), may pose a significant environmental threat. The AFFF lawsuit is an ongoing legal battle against manufacturers of the foam, seeking justice for the communities affected by the contamination.
According to the Lawsuit Information Center, the U.S. District Court for South Carolina judge Richard Gergel was given jurisdiction over the class action complaint concerning firefighting foam in December 2018. As of February 17, 2023, there were 3,704 active cases pending in the AFFF class action multi-district litigation (MDL).
In this article, we will explore the ongoing AFFF lawsuit and the legal battle against manufacturers of firefighting foam, as well as the fight for environmental justice and the challenges that come with it.
AFFF is a firefighting foam that contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of chemicals known to have harmful effects on human health and the environment. When AFFF is used to extinguish fires, PFAS can leach into the ground and contaminate soil and water sources. PFAS do not break down easily, leading to long-term contamination and health risks for those exposed to it.
The National Institutes of Health has published a report stating that PFAS molecules are resistant to environmental deterioration because of the strong carbon-fluorine bond. As a result, people and animals can be repeatedly exposed to PFAS, and the levels of some PFAS in the blood can accumulate over time.
As awareness of AFFF contamination has grown, communities across the country have started taking legal action against manufacturers of the foam. These lawsuits seek to hold manufacturers accountable for the environmental damage caused by their products and to provide compensation for those affected.
Law firms specializing in environmental law have taken on these cases, representing individuals and communities impacted by AFFF contamination. These firms work tirelessly to hold manufacturers accountable and ensure that affected communities receive the justice they deserve.
Several law firms like TorHoerman Law, LLC are also involved in building coalitions of affected communities, advocacy groups, and other stakeholders to increase awareness of the issue and coordinate advocacy efforts for the AFFF lawsuit.
When hiring a lawyer, it’s important to conduct thorough research and explore all available options before making a decision. This is particularly true when it comes to environmental law cases involving complex issues such as AFFF contamination. It’s important to find a lawyer or law firm with a proven track record in this area of law and a deep understanding of the scientific and legal issues at play.
The AFFF lawsuit faces several challenges, including proving liability and identifying the extent of the contamination. Manufacturers of the foam argue that they were unaware of the risks posed by their product and that they should not be held liable for the contamination.
Despite manufacturer claims of being unaware of the risks associated with PFAS, legal teams representing those affected argue that manufacturers had prior knowledge of the risks and chose not to disclose this information. A January 2023 blog post on Lexology notes that manufacturers became aware of the health implications of long-term exposure to PFAs as early as the 1990s.
Furthermore, identifying the extent of contamination is a significant challenge, as PFAS can travel long distances through groundwater and soil. Law firms working on the AFFF lawsuit must employ expert witnesses and advanced testing methods to determine the full extent of the contamination.
The AFFF lawsuit is a critical battle for environmental justice, and it highlights the need for stricter regulations on firefighting foam and other hazardous substances. The legal fight against AFFF manufacturers sends a strong message that companies cannot put profit over the health and safety of people and the environment.
As legal teams continue to fight for justice on behalf of those affected by AFFF contamination, it is essential to continue raising awareness of the issue and advocating for stricter regulations to prevent future environmental disasters.
In conclusion, the AFFF lawsuit serves as a reminder of the devastating impact of hazardous substances on our environment and the urgent need for stricter regulations.
While legal battles against manufacturers of firefighting foam continue, it’s crucial to work towards preventing future environmental disasters by implementing more comprehensive safety measures.
The fight for environmental justice is ongoing, and it requires collective action from individuals, communities, and governments to ensure that the health and safety of people and the environment are protected.