Delaware Takes Action Against 3M For Toxic PFAS Foam: What Are The Health Hazards?

Recently, the battle against AFFF, or firefighting foam, has been prevalent in many regions across the globe. Both research and anecdotal accounts have pointed toward the fact that this toxic foam has caused firefighters and others who have been exposed to it to suffer from various types of cancer. The victims filed a lawsuit seeking compensation for their loss and have also sued the manufacturers holding them accountable for it.

In October 2023, the Delaware Business Times reported on Kathy Jennings, an Attorney General who sued 14 companies, composed of 3M Company for producing AFFF that have penetrated the aquifers and soils. 

The foam is said to contain PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) also termed as ‘forever chemicals’ because it persists in the environment and human body instead of getting dissolved. As a result, humans tend to develop detrimental health hazards if they consciously or unconsciously inhale this foam for a long time.

Currently, the First State is now the latest one across the nation to sue manufacturers over AFFF, which is heavily used in military bases and airports. Even though water has been used to extinguish fire for a long time, it has proven to be ineffective in many situations, including oil fires. On the other hand, even though AFFF is effective in extinguishing liquid fires, it can lead to multiple risks of liver and thyroid cancer and other health issues.

In this article, we will discuss the fact that Delaware is suing 3M Company and the health hazards associated with AFFF so that firefighters and others are aware of it.

Why Did Delaware Sue 3M Company and Other Manufacturers?

The AFFF lawsuit that Delaware filed stated that one training exercise or firefighting event can release thousands of gallons of foam solution. This has PFAS in it, which enters the environment and the human body and contaminates it. The foam was used for a long time at the Dover Air Force Base and New Castle County Airport.

Kathy Jennings’s office has successfully negotiated a settlement amount of $550 over PFAS products, which includes AFFF. This settlement has drawn the trio of manufacturers that had risen from the legacy of E. I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, which consists of Corteva, Chemours, and DuPont. The companies have decided to shell out more than $1.1 billion nationwide for resolving the PFAS claims about drinking water.

Other than 3M, some of the latest cases were filed against:

  • Buckeye Fire Equipment
  • Deepwater Chemicals
  • Daikin America
  • ChemDesign Products
  • Tyco Fire Products
  • Archroma U.S

The state alleged that the defendants were responsible for polluting Delaware’s environment. They have also jeopardized the resident’s health because PFAS was present in wildfires, streams, soils, rivers, and groundwater. Thus, the lawsuit seeks compensation to cover the natural resources damages and the expenses to monitor, test, evaluate, and respond to the contamination.

While speaking about this issue, Kathy Jennings firmly stated that she doesn’t care much about any AFFF manufacturer. If they are held accountable for harming Delaware and its people, it will not be taken lightly. 

She further asserted that 3M and a few other defendants were aware of the dangers of this toxic foam and still they decided to sell it to earn profits by affecting the health of kids and residents. There is no way the people in Delaware should suffer because of corporate greed. Hence, she has decided to take action and ensure that such hazards are reduced.

The Dangers of AFFF Exposure

TorHoerman Law states that currently, government agencies are taking initiatives to destroy PFAS along with phasing out firefighting foam. Additionally, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has also developed a council to secure public health and nature from the harmful effects of PFAS. The agency has also come up with a roadmap for addressing this problem from a governmental perspective.

However, existing firefighters and others must be aware of the various health hazards caused by this foam. It includes:

  • The high chance of developing cancer
  • Liver damage
  • Negative immune system function
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • High cholesterol
  • Problems related to child and fetal development
  • Fertility issues and pregnancy-induced hypertension
  • High risk of asthma and thyroid disease

If you or anyone else has been diagnosed with cancer or any other health hazard it is necessary to get medical aid. Once the treatment is on, you can seek legal guidance from an expert lawyer, file a lawsuit, and wait for your compensation to cover the losses you’ve encountered because of AFFF exposure.

In conclusion, there has been an increasing number of legal claims against AFFF manufacturers for the harm the toxic foam has done to people and nature. Delaware joins the fight with Katherine Jennings leading the way to ensure that people no longer have to suffer because of the profit mindset of the defendants. There is a need for more such initiatives to alert people about the dangers of PFAS and correct the damage that has already been done.

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