Ohio Moves to Eliminate Toxic AFFF Firefighter Foam Amid Lawsuits, Growing Health Concerns

The state of Ohio has recently launched a groundbreaking initiative to collect and destroy stockpiles of toxic aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), also known as firefighter foam. This program comes in response to mounting concerns over the health risks associated with harmful PFAS chemicals found in AFFF, which have caused widespread water contamination issues and exposed individuals to cancer-causing substances. The move by Ohio reflects an ongoing conflict involving the use of PFAS and the urgent need to address the serious health concerns posed by these chemicals. 

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer allegedly caused by PFAS chemicals in firefighter foam, contact Consumer Safety Watch today. You may have grounds to file an AFFF firefighter foam lawsuit against the manufacturer. 

Understanding AFFF Firefighter Foam and its Uses

AFFF is a firefighting foam that has been widely used for years by fire departments and military bases to combat fuel-based fires. Its effectiveness in extinguishing fires has made it a popular choice in emergency response situations. However, AFFF contains hazardous per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals,” which are resistant to heat, oil, and water. PFAS have been utilized for decades in industry and consumer products due to their ability to resist grease and oil, but their persistence in the environment and potential health risks have raised significant concerns about their continued use.

Health Risks Associated with AFFF Exposure

Exposure to AFFF and PFAS chemicals has been linked to a range of adverse health effects. These include liver damage, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression, and an increased risk of cancer. The persistent nature of PFAS in the environment means that exposure can occur through contaminated drinking water, soil, and air. Firefighters, military personnel, and individuals living near military bases or airports are particularly at risk due to their regular contact with AFFF and its byproducts.

Lawsuits Against AFFF Manufacturers

The troubling health risks associated with AFFF exposure have led to a surge in lawsuits against manufacturers of these products. Local water providers and individuals diagnosed with various types of cancer have filed thousands of PFAS water contamination lawsuits and that number continues to grow. Firefighters who have been directly exposed to AFFF foam during training and response exercises have also initiated lawsuits seeking compensation for their injuries. The litigation surrounding AFFF and PFAS chemicals has heightened concerns about the long-term risks associated with the use of these products.

Ohio’s AFFF Takeback Program

In response to growing health concerns and legal measures, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine recently announced what is known as the AFFF Takeback Program. This statewide initiative aims to collect and destroy Ohio’s stockpiles of AFFF firefighter foam, effectively eliminating the potential risks associated with these toxic substances. The program is a collaborative effort between the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the State Fire Marshal’s Office, and Battelle, a science and technology company.

The AFFF Takeback Program will utilize PFAS AnnihilatorTM technology developed by Battelle. This innovative technology exposes AFFF to a process called supercritical water oxidation, which destroys the foam and reduces PFAS-contaminated wastewater to non-detectable levels. This program provides fire departments, local governments, and government-owned airports in Ohio with a safe and effective means of disposing of the toxic foam. The AFFF Takeback Program is funded by $3 million obtained through a settlement in a polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) enforcement case against Monsanto, an agricultural biotechnology company.

The Impact and Future of AFFF Litigation

While settlements have been reached in certain PFAS contamination lawsuits brought by water suppliers, providing compensation for the costs associated with cleaning up PFAS-contaminated water, individual lawsuits filed by those exposed to PFAS through drinking water or direct contact with AFFF foam have yet to be resolved. Coordinated pretrial proceedings have been established in federal court to address the common questions of fact and law presented in these cases. However, it may take several years before the first cases go before a jury.

The outcomes of these early cases will not have a binding impact on other individual lawsuits, but they will serve as benchmarks for future settlements. The growing awareness of the health risks associated with AFFF exposure and the mounting evidence linking PFAS chemicals to serious health conditions will likely influence the resolution of these legal claims.

Contact Consumer Safety Watch Today

Ohio’s proactive approach to eliminating stockpiles of toxic AFFF firefighter foam through the AFFF Takeback Program demonstrates the state’s commitment to protecting public health and the environment. As the litigation surrounding AFFF and PFAS continues to unfold, the resolution of these legal claims will have far-reaching implications for individuals affected by the harmful effects of these toxic chemicals. To learn more about your legal rights regarding toxic exposure to AFFF and PFAS, contact Consumer Safety Watch today.

Rate this post