Will 2024 See a Rise in AFFF Litigation?

In 2023, the lawsuits about the leading chemical manufacturers led to a settlement amount of $11 billion. For 2024, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to get added regulations into play. It will shed …

AFFF Litigation

In 2023, the lawsuits about the leading chemical manufacturers led to a settlement amount of $11 billion. For 2024, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to get added regulations into play. It will shed light on the harm caused by PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) contamination. As a result, more analysts have predicted that there will be an increased number of AFFF lawsuits this year.

In March 2024, more than 2,500 AFFF lawsuits in Ohio were consolidated in the MDL. In July 2023, there was an announcement about a global settlement, thereby pointing towards a probable decrease in the pending firefighter foam lawsuit cases. The promise of settlement instills hope in various residents of Ohio who have suffered from AFFF exposure. These include the firefighters as well.

Recently, a South Carolina man filed an AFFF lawsuit after being exposed to it and suffering because of it. In this article, we will discuss that such lawsuits might just go up in 2024, making way for other victims who have suffered from this toxic foam to seek compensation for it.

Understanding AFFF and Its Health Hazards

Many think that firefighters have it all sorted out once they step out of a site that previously caught fire. They feel that the strong foam they use can extinguish fire flames, save people, reduce property damage, and don’t cause any harm to them. The truth is the opposite–it’s this toxic foam, which is called AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam), that causes all the trouble.

TorHoerman Law states that this foam has PFAS, which is referred to as ‘forever chemicals’. These chemicals persist in the environment and human body, causing a wide range of diseases, including testicular, kidney, breast, and prostate cancer. Other physical hazards include liver damage, immune system deficiency, high cholesterol, and low fertility rates. Considering its fatal effects on humans and nature, government agencies have started to destroy PFAS and are taking initiatives to phase out this foam.

According to data released by the EPA in 2023, PFAS was detected in one in every four drinking water systems. The levels were above the minimum reporting levels that caused harm. Since PFAS is not completely phased out, naturally, there will be an increase in lawsuits this year.

The State of AFFF Litigation

According to the latest AFFF lawsuit update, there is a wide range of companies that have been targeted for PFAS litigation. A few of them aren’t even AFFF manufacturers, but have another chain of commerce. For instance, one case involved a paper manufacturer, whose manufacturing process created sludge that contained increased levels of PFAS and was detected in surface and groundwater.

The putative defendant companies and plaintiffs are observing the AFFF MDL closely, as they feel such cases will create the basis for forthcoming PFAS mass tort litigation. According to Reuters, there might be an increase in personal injury cases resulting from AFFF exposure.

The probable litigation targets comprise:

  • Importers
  • Chemical PFAS manufacturers
  • Manufacturers making use of PFAS in their products
  • Transporters of products comprising PFAS
  • The restaurant industry entities making use of food packaging and wrappers that have PFAS
  • Retailers who sell clothing that contains PFAS

Potential Developments in AFFF Lawsuits

If you consider the Wausau Lawsuit, the individual manufacturers should argue that the organization isn’t accountable for the contamination, but the other company is. Wisconsin Public Radio asserts that in the discovery process, both sides must strengthen their claims by resorting to company records. They should also opt for complex scientific testing and check the waters in the city, which in 2022 was reported to be polluted by PFAS, which were present in all municipal wells.

According to The New York Times, to avert accountability for what experts think to be a public health crisis, prominent chemical companies such as 3M, DuPont, and Chemours have implemented a probable mix of tactics. They have deployed public charm offensives to coax the lawmakers and regulators to take a step back.

Furthermore, they have also come with a challenging corporate transaction to keep themselves secure from any legal liability. And since they have rolled out chemicals that haven’t been tested well, things can become dangerous. Hence, it will take time to decide who is the accountable party and will need help from various sources. As a result, there will be more lawsuits and pending cases on firefighter foam this year.

Navigating the Legal Path

Therefore, if you or anyone you know has been affected by AFFF exposure, you must file a lawsuit. Ideally, getting in touch with a lawyer is the best way to go about it because you will have legal guidance and know-how that you aren’t aware of. That aside, the lawyer will also make the best use of all the evidence you submit and develop a solid case. Furthermore, they will also keep you updated about the settlement payout that you can use to cover all the economic and non-economic damages.

In conclusion, firefighters aren’t the only people who are affected by AFFF. In areas where this chemical has polluted the water supplies, other people get affected as well and develop multiple ailments. Since the number of AFFF lawsuits is estimated to go up in 2024, you can also file yours and expect a settlement amount to cover your losses.

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