Foam, Fire, and Fallout: The Latest Developments in Firefighting Foam Litigation

Firefighting foam has been used in firefighting for decades, first being introduced by the 3M company in the mid-1960s. The foam was designed to help extinguish fires by surrounding them with a chemically formulated foam that adheres to fuel and water molecules.

However, this same property makes the product dangerous for the people that came in contact with it. The latest developments in firefighter litigation cases have brought about discoveries about these chemicals’ potential effects on human health. Today we’ll review some of those findings as well as what’s next in this developing field of law.

Firefighting Foam Litigation

The History of Firefighting Foam

Firefighting foam has been around for more than 60 years. It was first used in the 1960s when firefighters began to use fluorocarbons like PFOS and PFOA (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid) as surfactants to help extinguish fires.

In the 1970s and 1980s, firefighting foams were used at military bases and airports across the country. These chemicals were sprayed onto fires using trucks or planes, then washed away with water after they’d put out flames.

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The Problems with Firefighting Foam

Firefighting foam is a toxic substance. It’s not biodegradable, and it can persist in the environment for decades. According to EWG, data released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates 900 spills of firefighting foam across the U.S. It is unclear whether the surrounding communities’ water supplies were contaminated by the spill.

Many of these sites were federal facilities and the Department of Defense, while some were civilian firefighting events and commercial harbors.

In addition to being environmentally harmful, it’s also expensive. The cost of cleaning up after a spill can run well into six figures or more depending on how much damage occurred and where you’re located geographically.

The Current State of Firefighting Foam Litigation

Since the first Firefighting foam lawsuit was filed in 2017, there have been over 3,387 lawsuits filed against chemical manufacturers.

According to the Lawsuit Information Center, most of these lawsuits were brought by firefighters who claim their health has been negatively impacted by exposure to PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam at work sites throughout the country.

However, others were filed by residents living near those sites and members of communities surrounding military bases where PFAS-containing AFFFs were used regularly during training exercises or wartime operations.

The Role of Government Regulation

The state and federal governments have set standards for firefighting foam, but those regulations are not enough. This is because the regulations were written decades ago and have not been updated to account for new scientific findings about the health effects of PFASs in humans.

The Impact on Affected Communities

Firefighting foam has been used for decades to combat fires and save lives. Unfortunately, the chemicals in this substance have been linked to serious health problems in humans and wildlife alike.

These chemicals are toxic byproducts of manufacturing foam products. They can be found in soil and water near airports across the country, where these substances were used for firefighting purposes. The chemicals have also been found in drinking water supplies near airports where these substances were used for firefighting purposes.

The Path Forward

According to CBS News, the lawsuit has been filed against the many manufacturers of firefighting foam that contain PFAs ( perfluoroalkyl substances) that have contaminated the water supplies in places like Thornton.

Testing of Thornton’s water supply found PFA levels well above the EPA’s advisory levels, which was 0.02 parts per trillion. It is believed that the chemical is responsible for a long list of health problems, including cancers, reproductive issues, and developmental issues in children. Women who are pregnant and nursing are at greater risk.

The litigation could impact thousands of people who were exposed to contaminated water supplies in communities across the country. It also could impact future regulation of firefighting foams by federal agencies like EPA and OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration), which are responsible for protecting our health and safety at work as well as in our communities.

These suits are expected to grow in number and size over time because more and more communities are discovering that their drinking water has been contaminated by PFAs chemicals from nearby military bases or airports where firefighting foam has been used for decades.

Also Read: Do You Have a Medical Malpractice Case? What an Attorney Will Tell You


Like any other environmental issue, the consequences of firefighting foam can be devastating for communities and individual people. However, these cases are also complicated by the fact that they involve multiple parties with different motivations and interests.

In some instances, these parties may even be working together to cover up their wrongdoing. Despite this complexity, we believe that justice will eventually be served for those who have been harmed by this toxic substance, and we hope that our blog post helps readers understand what’s happening with this important issue today.

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