The Legal Framework Of AFFF Lawsuits Explained

AFFF Lawsuits

To be a firefighter is to dedicate oneself wholeheartedly to the protection of human life and private property. However, the substances used to put out fires can sometimes cause other problems. 

Toxic chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are found in aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), which is used in firefighting. The groundwater and soil of communities across the country have been contaminated by these chemicals, which have been interconnected to a wide range of health problems, including cancer.

As a result, more and more people, companies, and governments are suing AFFF makers for financial compensation after experiencing negative consequences from using the foams. But what exactly is the legal framework for AFFF lawsuits? What are the legal implications of using them, and how do they operate? 

This post will delve into the nitty-gritty of AFFF lawsuits from a legal perspective, discussing the various entities, the underlying legal framework, and the possible outcomes.

The Rise Of AFFF Lawsuits: A Brief History

As early as the 1960s, the United States Navy was already employing AFFF as a firefighting tool for ships. Since then, firefighters all over the United States have embraced AFFF as a reliable tool for putting out blazes. To be sure, concerns about AFFF’s safety didn’t surface until the 1990s.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized PFAS chemicals as emerging pollutants in 1998, prompting worries about their potential effects on human health and the environment. 

More and more studies revealed that PFAS were not only able to persist in the environment for long periods of time but also posed serious health risks, such as cancer, hormonal disruptions, and immune system dysfunction.

Public awareness of the dangers of PFAS and the involvement of AFFF in environmental contamination has increased as more lawsuits have been lodged and settled regarding AFFF. As a result, authorities have taken steps to limit AFFF’s deployment and promote the discovery of less hazardous substitutes.

According to the most recent AFFF lawsuit update, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed in various states across the country, and more are expected to be filed in the near future. 

TorHoerman Law is a law firm that has filed several AFFF lawsuits on behalf of clients across the United States. They have experience in handling such cases and have helped plaintiffs secure compensation in similar cases.

Moreover, the rise in AFFF lawsuits has compelled the public, regulators, and manufacturers to the need to take action to protect human health and the environment from the dangers of PFAS. While the legal battles over AFFF are far from over, they have served as a wake-up call.

Legal Framework Of AFFF Lawsuits

Environmental legislation, consumer protection law, and tort law infractions are common AFFF lawsuit topics in both federal and state courts. In most cases, these statutes lay the groundwork for filing lawsuits against AFFF producers for damages resulting from PFAS exposure.

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) are two examples of environmental laws that ensure polluters pay for cleanup. Plaintiffs in AFFF cases may seek compensation from the AFFF industry for the expense of restoring damaged water and other natural resources.

The Consumer Product Safety Act and similar state statutes provide mechanisms for holding manufacturers liable for unsafe products. It is possible that plaintiffs in AFFF litigation would assert that AFFF manufacturers are liable for damages because they knew or should have known about the risks of PFAS contamination but failed to notify purchasers.

Tort laws like negligence and strict liability can be utilized to hold AFFF producers liable for harm their product causes. It is possible that plaintiffs in AFFF cases would assert that AFFF makers were aware of, or should have been aware of, the dangers of PFAS contamination yet failed to take adequate precautions.

CERCLA’s classification of PFAS as hazardous compounds and the subsequent enactment of rules to restrict AFFF use and encourage the use of safer alternatives may have an effect on cases utilizing AFFF.

The basic legal framework of AFFF litigation is complex, necessitating the services of expert legal counsel. Nonetheless, such cases are necessary to obtain justice for those harmed by AFFF pollution and hold manufacturers accountable for their actions.

Parties Involved In AFFF Lawsuits

Cases using AFFF typically include more than just the petitioner and defendant. These are the major players in AFFF lawsuits, summarized:

  • Plaintiffs: Victims of PFAS pollution (either as individuals or as a community) often file these lawsuits. Firefighters, military personnel, and people living in contaminated areas are all potential plaintiffs in an AFFF lawsuit. Those who file a lawsuit might ask for money to cover things like medical bills, missed wages, and property damage.
  • Defendants: Manufacturers of AFFFs, such as 3M, Chemours, and Tyco Fire Products, are the usual targets of plaintiffs’ legal claims in these cases. There are a number of legal theories that can be used to hold defendants liable for injuries caused by their products, including negligence, strict liability, and failure to warn.
  • Attorneys: Lawyers are essential to AFFF lawsuits, as they represent both sides in court and offer advice and representation to both sides. Lawyers handling AFFF cases may focus on environmental law, product liability, or another related area of law.
  • Expert witnesses: Trials involving AFFF often rely heavily on the testimony of experts who either support the claims of plaintiffs or refute those of defendants with their own knowledge and experience. Toxicologists, epidemiologists, and environmental engineers are only a few of the professionals who might testify as experts.
  • Regulatory bodies: Regulatory bodies may be involved in AFFF litigation if public resources, such as water supplies, have been harmed by PFAS pollution. To ensure the safety of the public and the environment, authorities may look into the amount of contamination and take legal action against AFFF producers.

Generally speaking, a wide variety of entities with varying responsibilities and interests are involved in AFFF litigation. All parties involved, however, want the same thing: to see those responsible for the damage caused by PFAS pollution held to account.


To summarize, AFFF lawsuits are a crucial tool for ensuring that those responsible for the contamination with PFAS chemicals are held liable for any resulting harm. Environmental regulations, consumer protection legislation, and tort law are frequently cited as the basis for such litigation. 

Plaintiffs, defendants, attorneys, expert witnesses, and governmental bodies are just some of the many players in AFFF lawsuits. Legally, AFFF cases can be difficult to navigate, but they also present a chance to seek redress for those who have been harmed and to promote the creation of safer alternatives to the substance. 

Hence, it will be crucial to keep up with the changing legal landscape of AFFF litigation and to seek out professional counsel in order to successfully traverse this complex and crucial aspect of law.