The Diseases That Are Linked to AFFF The Diseases That Are Linked to AFFF

The Diseases That Are Linked to AFFF

Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) has been the industry standard for extinguishing petroleum-based fires for decades. Its effectiveness in combating these intense blazes is undeniable. However, growing concerns have emerged in recent years regarding the potential health risks associated with AFFF exposure.

Studies suggest links between AFFF and various diseases, prompting many firefighters and individuals exposed to it to look for legal options. If you have been exposed to AFFF and are experiencing health problems, you may be eligible to file an AFFF lawsuit.

It is recommended to consult a qualified attorney from an experienced law firm like Dolman Law Group to discuss your specific situation. Specializing in mass torts and class action lawsuits, Dolman Law Group has been the voice of accident victims since 2004. Their reputation for holding insurance companies at bay has made them one of the top law firms in Florida.

This article will explore the current scientific understanding of diseases potentially linked to AFFF exposure.

Understanding AFFF and PFAS

At the heart of AFFF’s firefighting prowess lie per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These man-made chemicals create a unique property that allows AFFF to smother and extinguish liquid fuel fires. PFAS excel at repelling water and oil, enabling the foam to blanket the burning fuel and prevent oxygen from reaching it.

However, this very same property that makes them exceptional fire suppressants also makes them incredibly persistent in the environment. PFAS resist degradation and can easily contaminate soil and water sources, raising concerns about long-term public health risks.

Potential Routes of AFFF Exposure

Unfortunately, AFFF contamination can affect people beyond the immediate firefighting scene. Here are the primary ways humans can be exposed to AFFF:

  • Firefighters: Direct contact during training exercises and real-world firefighting operations.
  • Communities near training sites: Inhalation of airborne AFFF particles or exposure through contaminated water runoff.
  • Contaminated drinking water: PFAS from AFFF-impacted sites can seep into groundwater sources, posing a risk for those consuming the water.

Diseases Potentially Linked to AFFF Exposure

A growing body of research suggests potential links between AFFF exposure and various health problems.


Studies are investigating possible connections between AFFF exposure and several cancers, including testicular cancer and kidney cancer. The strength of this evidence varies.

For instance, some research suggests a link with testicular cancer, while data on the link with kidney cancer is limited. Ongoing research is crucial to solidifying these connections.

Immune System Impact

Exposure to AFFF may weaken the immune system’s ability to fight off infections. Studies suggest a decrease in antibody response after AFFF exposure, potentially making individuals more susceptible to illnesses.

Thyroid Issues

The thyroid gland plays a vital role in regulating hormones. Research indicates a potential link between AFFF exposure and thyroid problems, such as changes in hormone levels or an increased risk of thyroid disease.

Developmental Issues

Pregnant women and children may be particularly vulnerable to AFFF exposure. Studies are in progress to determine if AFFF can affect fetal development or increase the risk of health problems in children.

Other Potential Health Effects

Researchers are also investigating potential connections between AFFF exposure and other health concerns, such as high cholesterol, preeclampsia (pregnancy-related high blood pressure), and ulcerative colitis (an inflammatory bowel disease).

Current Research and Ongoing Investigations

Current Research and Ongoing Investigations

Scientists are actively engaged in strengthening the understanding of how AFFF exposure might contribute to specific diseases. Research involves studying exposed individuals, conducting laboratory experiments, and analyzing health data.

Government agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and public health organizations like the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) are crucial in funding and directing these investigations. Their efforts are vital for establishing clearer connections between AFFF exposure and potential health risks.

Uncertainties and Challenges

Current research offers valuable insights, but limitations exist. More studies are needed to solidify connections and understand the full spectrum of health effects.

Establishing a direct cause-and-effect relationship between AFFF exposure and specific diseases can be challenging due to factors like varying exposure levels and potential influence from other environmental contaminants.

Recommendations and Public Health Measures

Efforts are underway to address AFFF contamination in water sources and the environment. Public awareness and education about the potential health risks associated with AFFF exposure are crucial. This empowers individuals to make informed decisions and seek appropriate medical advice.