What Ever Firefighter Needs to Know about Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

2 min


Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are man-made chemicals that have widely been used in industry and consumer products since the 1940s. PFAS are extremely long-lasting chemicals that break down very slowly over a long period of time, and thus, they are referred to as “forever chemicals.” Because they are so widely used, PFAS can be found in human and animal blood across the globe and can also be found in very low levels in a variety of food products.

In larger doses, however, those, such as firefighters exposed to PFAS have developed serious health complications including a variety of cancers as alleged in the AFFF Firefighting Foam Lawsuit. There, firefighters exposed to PFAS and developed certain health conditions including a variety of cancers filed a firefighting foam lawsuit as did others around the country which have been transferred by the Judicial Panel on Multidipanel Litigation. Read on to learn more about PFAS, where it can be found and how you can be exposed. Firefighters who were exposed to PSAF and subsequently have been diagnosed with cancer or another major health condition, should contact Firefighting Foam Lawyer Timothy L. Miles about a Firefighting Foam Lawsuit.

What Do We Know about PFAS?

PFAS are man-made, manufactured chemicals used in industry and consumer products that have been around since the 1940s because of their useful properties. While there are literally thousands of PFAS, two of the most widely used chemicals in the PFAS group, up until being replaced by PFAS in the last few years The common characteristic and main concern with PFAS is that many break down very slowly and can build up in humans and animals, not to mention the environment.

What Products Contain PFASA?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PFAS can be found not only in our products, but our water, work and home, including:

  • Fire extinguishing foam
  • Drinking water
  • Food
  • Household products and dust
  • Soil and water at or near waste sites
  • Manufacturing or chemical production facilities that produce or use PFAS
  • Personal care products
  • Biosolids

How are People Can Be Exposed to PFAS?

People can be exposed to PFAS in a variety of ways and one study has shown most people in the United States have been exposed to some PFAS, most in low amounts. However, can people can be exposed in high amounts, specifically those who are exposed to a concentrated amount over a long period of time which can accumulate in the body over time.

The EPA, based on current research, says people can be exposed to PFAS by:

  • Working in occupations such as firefighting or chemicals manufacturing and processing.
  • Drinking water contaminated with PFAS.
  • Eating certain foods that may contain PFAS, including fish.
  • Swallowing contaminated soil or dust.
  • Breathing air containing PFAS.
  • Using products made with PFAS or that are packaged in materials containing PFAS.

Is Exposure Really Harmful to Your Health?

Yes, as the EPA explains, based on current scientific research high levels of exposure may lead to adverse health effects.  The current scientific studies have shown expose to PFAS may lead to the following:

  • Reproductive effects such as decreased fertility or increased high blood pressure in pregnant women.
  • Developmental effects or delays in children, including low birth weight, accelerated puberty, bone variations, or behavioral changes.
  • Increased risk of some cancers, including prostate, kidney, and testicular cancers.
  • Reduced ability of the body’s immune system to fight infections, including reduced vaccine response.
  • Interference with the body’s natural hormones.
  • Increased cholesterol levels and/or risk of obesity.

Research is ongoing to better understand the health effects associated with low levels of exposure to PFAS over long periods of time, especially in children.


If you or a family member worked as a firefighter and developed cancer, hyperthyroidism or ulcerative colitis, contact Firefighting Foam Lawyer Timothy L. Miles you may be entitled to significant compensation. We take all cases on a contingency basis which means we do not get paid unless we win your case.

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