Firefighters extinguishing fire using AFFF

South Carolina AFFF Attorneys

Bell Legal Group is holding manufacturers responsible for the harm caused by their products 

Aqueous Film-Forming Foam, often referred to as AFFF, serves as a suppressant employed to combat flammable liquid fires, specifically Class B fires. This foam comprises HIGHLY TOXIC SUBSTANCES known as PER- AND POLYFLUOROALKYL (PFAS). PFAS is commonly labeled as a “forever chemical” due to its persistent nature. The noxious substances contained within AFFF persist within an individual’s body for an extended period of time.

Who Qualifies?

  • Firefighters or members of the U.S. Military who experienced exposure to AFFF after the year 1960.
  • Firefighters who routinely utilized AFFF or engaged in training exercises involving firefighting foam.
  • Members of the U.S. military who employed this substance for training, fire suppression, life-saving efforts, and property protection.

Schedule your case evaluation with us

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Firefighters spraying AFFF

Health Impacts

Prominent health organizations such as The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the American Cancer Society (ACS) have acknowledged potential links between specific PFAS chemicals and cancer among firefighters.

Medical findings establish a connection between AFFF exposure and the following diseases:

  • Kidney Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Liver Cancer
  • Ulcerative Colitis

About AFFF

Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) is a chemical agent used to suppress fires fueled by gas, oil, and other flammables. AFFF has been used since the 1970s and is touted for its effectiveness at blanketing flames and preventing flammable liquids from spreading. But the same foam used to protect communities and military bases from fire hazards is also responsible for causing devastating health issues and diseases.

What Is AFFF?

AFFF is a synthetic Class B fire suppressant foam. This surfactant is designed to spread a long distance quickly to efficiently contain and smother burning liquids, including oil and gasoline. The chemicals that help the foam spread and prevent reignition are the same harmful toxins that have long compromised the health of hardworking firefighters.

Why Is AFFF Dangerous?

Aqueous film-forming foam contains dangerous PFAS, or Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances. PFAS are also known as ‘forever chemicals,’ a term used to characterize substances that do not organically degrade in the human body, in wildlife, or in natural environments. Firefighting foam is hazardous at the time of exposure, but due to the body’s absorption of AFFF PFAS, the harmful effects continue long after the initial contact.

AFFF: Understanding the Risks and Uses

Because of how Aqueous Film-Forming Foam is used—spreading to coat an inflamed area—the risks of exposure are not limited to the person handling the fire extinguisher. Any item may be contaminated by foam waste, including personal protective equipment and firefighting gear, and when firefighters return home, they may bring these chemicals with them. Anyone employed at a fire station where these toxins were used may also be in jeopardy.

An AFFF fire extinguisher operates similarly to a standard apparatus to dispense a mix of surfactants, foam stabilizers, and water, resulting in a seemingly harmless but effective foam. Firefighters at aviation facilities and military bases knew this solution provided superior fire suppression, degreasing, and other applications, but were not aware of the hardships that would follow—except for the fire foam manufacturers. The companies producing the PFAS chemicals in AFFF foam disregarded their internal studies and research to continue reaping profits.

Is AFFF Still Used?

Even though health officials, environmental specialists, and government agencies agree that AFFF foam should be banned, it is only now being phased out at FAA-regulated airports, military facilities, and firehouses. Alternative solutions are in development and the Department of Defense has issued a deadline to discontinue the use of AFFF by October 1, 2024. Even when this dangerous firefighting foam is eliminated, the side effects of AFFF exposure will have already taken their toll on many innocent firefighters and their families.

Honorable civilians and service members who have worked with dangerous AFFF chemicals shouldn’t stand quietly by while manufacturers escape liability. Anyone affected by the chemicals within AFFF deserves to have their story heard, and Bell Legal Group is here to listen. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Qualifies?

Civilian firefighters, including volunteers, when PFAS containing AFFF stock are used for emergency fire suppression and/or in training settings.

Military personnel – in addition to the civilian firefighters, those that work as firefighters in the military in every branch are at a very high risk of developing diseases caused by AFFF exposure.

Who am I suing?

A lawsuit will be filed against the company or companies which made the AFFF products you were exposed to. Examples of some companies included in the MDL are: 

  • 3M Company
  • DuPont
  • Chemours Company
  • Chemguard
  • Tyco Fire Products
  • National Foam, Inc.
  • Dynax Corporation
  • Buckeye Fire Equipment Co.

Where is my case being filed?

All AFFF lawsuits have been consolidated into a MDLin the District of South Carolina.

MDL stands for Multi District Litigation. Since this case affects thousands of individuals all over the country, it is considered a MDL. All MDL’s are governed by one Judge and all cases are consolidated in one Court for efficiency purposes.

Over 5000 plaintiffs with lawsuits are pending in the AFFF MDL.

The MDL currently contains personal injury claims and water district claims.

Bell Legal Group is only taking personal injury claims for firefighters.

MDL vs. Class Action

MDL and class action lawsuits are both used to group plaintiffs with similar claims against the same Defendants for efficiencies purposes. However, they do have differences.

  • MDL cases exist only in federal court while class action lawsuits can be filed in either state or federal court.
  • MDLs are often used for people who suffer from similar injuries, but the extent of those injuries differ from case to case. Whereas Class Actions are generally used when the members of the class have experienced the same losses. 
  • In a Class Action, a representative group goes through the judicial processes together. An MDL is made up of a bunch of individually filed consolidated cases.

Can surviving family members recover compensation on behalf of an AFFF exposure victim?

Yes. Family members can continue the claims of their loved ones.

How much compensation could I receive?

The compensation you’re entitled to depends on the circumstances surrounding your case such as:

  • the level of exposure to AFFF
  • long-term prognosis and seriousness of your illness
  • the extent of pain and suffering
  • if you experienced lost earning capacity caused by any disability that you suffered as a result of exposure

The two basic types of compensatory damages are usually medical bills and pain and suffering.


J. Edward Bell III

Founder and Senior Partner

South Carolina attorney Ed Bell founded Bell Legal Group more than 40 years ago. With offices in Georgetown, SC, and Raleigh, NC, he focuses his practice on a variety of cases that range from medical malpractice, personal injury, automobile safety and defects, product liability, environmental law, police misconduct, and prison abuse.

J.Edward Bell III

Awards & Accolades

Schedule your case evaluation with us

Georgetown, SC Office

219 Ridge St.
Georgetown, SC 29440
(843) 438-7480

Raleigh, NC Office

751 Corporate Center Drive, Suite 300
Raleigh, NC 27607
(919) 277-9299

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.