U.S. Military Firefighting Foam Exposure

Composed of human-made chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) is a type of foam used by firefighters to smother high-intensity fires. Unfortunately, research has linked AFFF to an increased risk of cancer — especially for those who regularly used firefighting foam, such as military firefighters. If you have been exposed to AFFF, and you were diagnosed with cancer, Sokolove Law may be able to help you pursue compensation.

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U.S. Military Firefighters

The armed forces need emergency protection from life-threatening hazards such as fires, which is why there are many firefighters serving within the U.S. military. Military firefighters control and prevent fires on military bases and facilities, as well as aboard aircraft and ships.

Because of the nature of their work, and their frequent use of AFFF, many military firefighters have been exposed to toxic PFAS that can cause serious health problems such as cancer.

AFFF & PFAS on Military Bases

In the late 1960s, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) began requiring all branches of the U.S. military to use AFFF due to its ability to extinguish high-intensity fires involving extremely flammable substances such as oil or petroleum.

Given this requirement, military firefighters have been disproportionately exposed to PFAS pollution. In fact, according to research by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), many of the highest concentrations of PFAS in the United States have been detected on or around military installations.

While the Department of Defense recently committed to stop the use of PFAS-containing AFFF, its phaseout of cancer-causing firefighting foam will not be completed until 2024.

Cancers from Military Firefighting

Major health organizations, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the American Cancer Society (ACS), have identified a link between certain PFAS chemicals and an increased risk of cancer and other health problems in military firefighters.

Exposure to AFFF that contains PFAS may cause present and former military firefighters to develop:

  • Renal (kidney) cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Prostate cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer (colon and/or rectal cancer)
  • Thyroid cancer

PFAS are commonly referred to as “forever chemicals,” because their highly durable nature means they do not readily decompose over time. Because of this, PFAS may remain in the body for years, building up over time and causing numerous health risks, including several types of cancer.

If you were diagnosed with cancer after being exposed to PFAS, you may be able to work with Sokolove Law to file an AFFF lawsuit seeking financial compensation for your medical expenses.

Get a free, no-obligation consultation to see if you may have a case.

Military Firefighting Foam Extinguishers

Throughout the 50-year history of firefighting foam, an assortment of domestic and international companies have manufactured, distributed, and sold many different varieties of AFFF.

Some of the more commonly known AFFFs include:

  • FireAid® by Fire Service Plus, Inc.
  • Buckeye 3% Mil Spec AFFF by Buckeye Fire Equipment Company
  • ChemGuard AR-AFFF 3% x 6% Foam by Chemguard, Inc.
  • Light Water™ AFF by 3M Company
  • THUNDERSTORM® W833A 3×3 AR-AFFF by Williams Fire & Hazard Control

Historically, the U.S. military has been one of the largest consumers of firefighting foam.

Class A Foam vs. AFFF

There are two major types of firefighting foam — Class A foam and Class B foam — with AFFF falling under Class B:

  • Class A Foam: Typically, this category of firefighting foam is used to extinguish fires caused by wood, paper, or brush. Given the lower level of intensity in these types of fires, Class A foams do not contain PFAS.
  • Class B Foam: These foams, which include AFFF, are used to extinguish fires involving gasoline, oil, petroleum, and jet fuel. Class B foams are broken into two categories — fluorinated and fluorine-free. The fluorinated variety commonly contains PFAS.

Generally, Class A foams are considered to be much safer and far less toxic than AFFF, which can harm the environment and human health.

Diagnosed With Cancer After Exposure to AFFF?

If you or a loved one are a firefighter, were exposed to firefighting foam, and later developed cancer, you may be entitled to compensation through a firefighting foam lawsuit.

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Firefighting Foam Manufacturers

Since the invention of firefighting foam in 1963, many U.S. companies have been involved in the manufacturing, distribution, marketing, and sale of cancer-causing firefighting foam.

The following companies are known to have been involved in the manufacturing and distribution of firefighting foams:

  • 3M Company
  • Ansul®
  • Chemguard, Inc.
  • DuPont™
  • Dynax Corporation
  • National Foam
  • Tyco Fire Products

3M Company, Ansul, and National Foam have provided AFFF to the U.S. military.

If you were diagnosed with cancer after being exposed to AFFF, regardless of who manufactured it, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact Sokolove Law to learn more.

VA Disability Claims for PFAS & AFFF Exposure

To qualify for Veterans Administration (VA) disability benefits, a veteran must have a service-related disability, which can range from a condition like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to cancer caused by exposure to toxic substances.

If a veteran has had a VA disability claim denied, they can appeal the decision. For example, a retired military firefighter may seek VA disability compensation for cancer that was caused by PFAS exposure during their service. If their claim was denied, they will likely want to file an appeal and contact a VA disability denial attorney.

Military firefighters suffering from cancer caused by exposure to PFAS, though, may want to file a firefighting foam cancer lawsuit that could potentially recover the compensation they need to pay their medical bills and secure their family’s financial future.

PFAS & AFFF Military Lawsuits

The firefighting foam lawyers at Sokolove Law are currently investigating cases involving cancer after occupational exposure to AFFF.

You may be able to file an AFFF lawsuit if you or your loved one:

  • Worked as a firefighter
  • Were exposed to toxic firefighting foams
  • Were later diagnosed with leukemia; lymphoma; or pancreatic, kidney, testicular, thyroid, bladder, breast, colon, liver, or prostate cancer

Through a firefighting foam cancer lawsuit, you may be able to receive financial compensation for any injuries you have endured due to PFAS exposure. We will listen to your story and help you understand your legal options.

Compensation for Military Exposure to PFAS

For more than 40 years, Sokolove Law has answered the call of thousands of victims who have been injured or developed a disease through no fault of their own. Our firm was founded on the principle of standing up for Americans who have been taken advantage of by large, powerful organizations.

Sokolove Law’s goal is to maximize the value of any legal claim you may file, and to provide knowledge, guidance, and assurance along the way — so that you can focus on the things that matter most: your health and your family.

Sokolove Law works on a contingency-fee basis, which means there are no upfront costs for our firm to represent you. We only get paid if your case succeeds in recovering compensation.

To learn more, contact the firefighting foam attorneys at Sokolove Law today and start a free legal case review.

Military Firefighting Foam FAQs

Does the military have firefighters?

Every branch of the U.S. military (except for the Space Force) has trained military firefighters who serve by protecting personnel, families, and property on bases. Military firefighters must pass basic training, after which they attend specialized training at the Louis F. Garland Department of Defense Fire Academy at Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas.

Why are there PFAS on military bases?

For decades, the U.S. Department of Defense required all branches of the military to store and utilize PFAS-containing firefighting foam. Military firefighters used this foam for training exercises and for extinguishing high-intensity fires involving Class B materials such as jet fuel. As a result, high concentrations of PFAS are commonly found around military installments.

Are U.S. military firefighters at risk of developing cancer from PFAS?

U.S. military firefighters are at risk of developing cancer from PFAS due to potentially high levels of exposure while on the job. In the United States, the military has historically been the largest consumer of PFAS-containing firefighting foam. As a result, the highest concentrations of PFAS have been identified at and around military installations.

Author:Sokolove Law Team
Sokolove Law Team

Contributing Authors

The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: September 20, 2021

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