3M, a major chemical manufacturer, has come to an agreement with plaintiffs in the AFFF firefighting foam multidistrict litigation. AFFF firefighting foam contains PFAS, which research has shown to be carcinogenic. The settlement is intended to compensate communities for the damage caused by 3M’s firefighting foam runoff polluting their water supplies for decades. Other manufacturers involved in these claims, such as DuPont, are making similar efforts to settle the PFAS claims.
Product liability attorneys are still working tirelessly to negotiate fair settlements for plaintiffs in AFFF firefighting foam lawsuits. Many families are seeking compensation for damages like lost wages, medical bills, loss of quality of life, and wrongful death. If you have developed cancer or other serious health issues related to exposure to PFAS in AFFF firefighting foam, you should speak with a personal injury lawyer with experience managing mass tort product liability claims. The expertise of an AFFF lawyer can be beneficial in evidence collection, statement drafting, and negotiating for maximum compensation.
3M Settles With Plaintiffs Harmed by Polluted Drinking Water
Chemical manufacturer 3M has agreed to settle the AFFF firefighting foam claims brought against them by water providers for between 10.5 and 12.5 billion dollars. 3M will pay out the settlement over a period of 13 years. This claim specifically involves the city of Stuart, Florida, which will receive compensation from this settlement to go towards a few initiatives along with other cities.
This includes water testing to ensure that the PFAS measured in the water supply are in compliance with EPA standards for drinking water. The funding from the settlement will also go towards cleaning up the contaminated water and regular maintenance of the decontamination system. Despite agreeing to this settlement, 3M has refused to accept liability in the AFFF water contamination claims.
The multidistrict litigation was headed to trial on June 5th, but due to the progress being made in negotiations, Judge Richard Gergel pushed back the date. The AFFF claims were being heard in Charleston, South Carolina. The multidistrict litigation includes over 4,500 claims against chemical manufacturers like 3M. Plaintiffs argue that manufacturer’s negligence led to the poisoning of their water supplies, increasing resident’s risk of various cancers, organ damage, and other life-threatening health issues.
Researchers Warn PFAS Can Cause Cancer and Other Serious Health Conditions
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are found in the blood of nearly every American, according to the CDC. Notably, they take many decades to break down, leading to their nickname of forever chemicals. They have recently been publically identified as a carcinogen. Most people come into contact with PFAS by using non-stick cookware, stain and water-resistant fabrics, or products like tampons. They are also recently been found in pesticides sprayed on food crops.
Occupational exposure to PFAS, such as in the case of firefighters, airport workers, and military personnel who regularly handle products like AFFF foam, is also a common source of exposure. Research has indicated that exposure to high levels of PFAS or long-term exposure to PFAS can increase the risk of the following health issues:
- Kidney cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Testicular cancer
- High blood pressure in pregnant women
- High cholesterol
- Thyroid disease
- Developmental delays in children
- Decreased vaccine response in children
- Hormone issues
Our understanding of PFAS is still evolving, so the list of health issues associated with PFAS exposure may continue to grow. Additionally, agencies like the EPA are continuing to update their standards for what a safe level of exposure is and determining the best way to measure the presence of PFAS.
Chemical Manufacturers and the Military Have a History of Allowing PFAS to Contaminate Water Supplies
Communities located near airports, military bases, and firefighter training structures have reported higher levels of illnesses related to PFAS exposure, such as cancer. Sometimes this is caused by decades of negligent disposal or runoff, as in the case of Camp Lejeune where the bases’ water supply was contaminated by various chemicals for over 30 years.
Hundreds of thousands of Marines and their families we unwittingly subjected to high levels of exposure to toxic chemicals between the 1950s and the 1980s, and the claims still have not been settled. The military, specifically the Air Force, has been working on alternatives to major contributors to PFAS water contamination, such as AFFF firefighting foam, but for many families, it is already too late.
The military is not the only group to blame for allowing extensive water contamination across the United States. It appears that manufacturers like 3M and DuPont were aware of the dangers of PFAS for decades, yet failed to take appropriate action or warn the public. 3M has only recently announced its intention to phase out PFAS by 2025. In the meantime, communities are getting sick, accumulating medical bills, trying to navigate lost wages and jeopardized jobs, and losing their quality of life.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer About Your PFAS Water Contamination Lawsuit
While 3M agreeing to settle with plaintiffs is certainly a step in the right direction, communities are still at risk of developing cancer and other serious health issues related to PFAS exposure. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer or one of the other health conditions after being exposed to PFAS in contaminated water, you may have legal recourse.
The best way to learn about your options is to contact a personal injury lawyer that has demonstrated experience settling mass tort claims involving defective products. They can offer insight into how to maximize your compensation for your AFFF claim, walk you through the necessary paperwork to file a claim, communicate with other parties involved in the multidistrict litigation, and lend a sense of legitimacy to your case.
Personal injury attorneys offer free consultations where they can examine the facts of your case to determine if your injuries are related to the defendant’s negligence and if your damages are a result of your injury. They can also evaluate your damages to determine what your settlement might be worth. Protect your right to seek compensation for your losses by contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.