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The Different Types of Head Injuries

Head injuries vary widely, ranging from minor scalp wounds like cuts or scrapes to more severe conditions such as skull fractures, hemorrhages, and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Among these, TBIs are particularly concerning due to their long-lasting impact.

TBIs result from sudden trauma to the brain, ranging from mild to severe or fatal. They are commonly categorized into contusions, concussions, penetrating brain injuries, and diffuse axonal injuries.

Contusions occur when parts of the brain become bruised and swollen due to trauma, with severity varying based on the injury. Some cases may require surgical intervention to relieve pressure on the affected area.

Concussions are prevalent TBIs, often caused by sudden movements that jolt the brain inside the skull. They can result from direct blows to the head or from forces causing the head to move rapidly forward or backward.

Penetrating injuries involve the piercing of the brain’s outer lining, typically by sharp objects or projectiles. These injuries are severe and necessitate immediate medical attention due to their open wound nature.

Diffuse axonal injuries occur when the brain experiences rapid acceleration or deceleration, causing shearing of its white matter. These injuries lead to widespread neurological damage and can result in coma, with no surgical remedy available.

Most of these injuries are considered “closed head” wounds, often undetectable without medical imaging. Prompt diagnosis is crucial as certain TBIs can increase the risk of developing conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Brain injuries not only affect the victim but also impact their families significantly. For more information on caring for brain injury victims, refer to my recent article.

If you require legal assistance for a brain injury case in Clearwater, contact the Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at (866) 426-1037 for a consultation and free case evaluation.

Fire Extinguishing Foam and the Toxic Chemicals Known as The Forever Chemicals

Fire extinguishing foam, also referred to as firefighter foam or Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), serves as a fire suppressant with a history spanning over 50 years. Primarily, it proves highly effective in extinguishing liquid fires, notably those prevalent in the oil industry, as well as fires stemming from gasoline and jet fuel.

Operating by coating the fuel surface, AFFF forms a barrier that prevents flammable vapors from mingling with oxygen, thus thwarting the ignition of flames. Despite its efficacy, the use of this high-expansion foam has raised significant concerns regarding health and the environment, including potential risks associated with firefighting foam and cancer.

a, Firefighting Foam Contains Toxic Forever Chemicals

Firefighting foam is laden with hazardous chemicals known as “forever chemicals.” These substances have the capacity to infiltrate the environment, posing enduring threats to soil and water quality. Prolonged exposure to these contaminants has been associated with various health issues, including cancer.

Initially renowned for its efficacy in extinguishing fires triggered by flammable liquids, AFFF firefighting foam has garnered attention. Consequently, individuals such as firefighters, military personnel, and airport workers, who utilize these foams, face elevated risks of developing firefighting foam-related cancers and other associated ailments due to their exposure to these persistent chemicals.

b, Exposed to Firefighter Foam Concentrate and Diagnosed with Cancer?

If you’ve received a cancer diagnosis and suspect it’s linked to your exposure to firefighter foam concentrate, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses and damages. In cases where a product harms multiple individuals, manufacturers, distributors, and retailers can be held accountable in a product liability claim.

At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA (Dolman Law Group), our attorneys specialize in handling these intricate product liability cases. We’ve successfully represented numerous injured consumers, ensuring they receive the justice and compensation owed to them due to the negligence of companies.

Currently, we’re advocating for over 100 firefighters who’ve developed cancer after using AFFF firefighting foams. Many of these individuals were employed at airports, military bases, or fire departments where this foam was deployed to combat fires caused by flammable liquids.

c, Government Orders Transition From AFFF to Fluorine-Free Foam

The government has mandated a shift from AFFF to Fluorine-Free Foam (FFF) for combating Class B fires, citing the extreme hazards posed by AFFF firefighting foams. AFFF contains harmful forever chemicals known to cause cancer. While AFFF is not yet banned, the transition to FFF is prompted by extensive scientific evidence linking AFFF exposure to cancer.

The perilous nature of AFFF firefighting foams stems from the presence of toxic forever chemicals within them. This transition to FFF presents a safer alternative. However, for many individuals already exposed, this change comes too late.

d, Comparing Two Foam Blanket Options for Fire Suppression

When dealing with liquid, fuel, and chemical fires, Class B fire fighting foams are highly effective as they create a barrier of bubbles on the flammable liquid’s surface, preventing oxygen from fueling the flames. Let’s examine the two main options: Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) and Fluorine-free foams.

AFFF foams, commonly used in firefighting, contain various toxic chemicals, including Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which have been linked to health concerns such as cancer. PFAS chemicals, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), are prevalent in AFFF and are known to persist in the environment, posing risks to both human health and ecosystems. Additionally, AFFF is frequently used in fire training exercises, further increasing exposure risks.

On the other hand, Fluorine-free foams are composed of environmentally friendly ingredients such as water, solvents, hydrocarbon surfactants, and polysaccharides. These foams do not contain PFAS, minimizing environmental impact and reducing health risks. Moreover, many components of fluorine-free foams are biodegradable, offering a more sustainable solution. By forming a bubble blanket, fluorine-free foams effectively cool and extinguish flammable liquids while preventing oxygen from sustaining the fire.

In summary, while AFFF foams have been widely used in fire suppression, their composition raises concerns regarding environmental and health impacts. Fluorine-free foams offer a safer and more environmentally conscious alternative, providing effective fire suppression without the risks associated with PFAS chemicals.

e, PFAS Chemicals in AFFF Foam Are Extremely Dangerous

PFAS chemicals found in AFFF foam pose significant dangers to both individuals and the environment. Termed “forever chemicals,” they persist in soil and water without breaking down, leading to long-term environmental contamination. The adverse effects of firefighting foams containing PFAS are increasingly evident.

These chemicals, being non-biodegradable, exert a lasting impact on soil and water resources, affecting entire communities. Many counties and municipalities across the nation have initiated legal actions against AFFF manufacturers to address the costs associated with containing and cleaning up land and groundwater contaminated by PFAS from firefighting foam.

The presence of PFAS has been linked to several types of cancer, including kidney, testicular, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate, breast, ovarian, and liver cancer.

f, How Does Aqueous Film Forming Foam Work?

Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), developed since the early 1960s by the US Navy and 3M, serves as a crucial tool in combating high-hazard flammable liquid fires, categorized as Class B fires. By enveloping the fuel with this synthetic foam, the interaction between the fire and oxygen is disrupted, effectively inhibiting further combustion of substances like jet fuel and gasoline.

In essence, the foaming agents within AFFF suffocate the fire by depriving it of oxygen, thus extinguishing Class B fires. Variants such as alcohol-resistant (AR-AFFF) foam are tailored for specific situations, such as managing polar solvent fires.

However, despite its effectiveness in fire suppression, AFFF has faced heightened scrutiny due to the revelation of associated health and environmental risks posed by its chemical composition. While AFFF unquestionably tackles flammable liquid fires, concerns regarding its potential adverse effects on human health and the environment have led to a surge in lawsuits targeting firefighting foam manufacturers.

g, PFOS/PFAS and Firefighting Foam: A Hazardous Link to Cancer

The presence of PFAS chemicals in aqueous film-forming foam poses significant dangers to both the environment and human health. Dubbed “Forever Chemicals” for their enduring nature in the environment, PFAS compounds have been linked to various health issues, including cancer, reproductive disorders, immune system suppression, and other ailments, even at low concentrations. Once these chemicals infiltrate the human body, eliminating them becomes a formidable challenge.

Exposure to toxic AFFF affects a wide range of workers who come into contact with the foam, as well as residents living in the vicinity. Among these groups, firefighters face the highest risk due to their frequent exposure during training exercises and firefighting operations.

Workers in airports, military installations, industrial facilities involved in chemical production, and nearby residents are particularly vulnerable to the hazards associated with AFFF.

Leading health authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consistently report a correlation between PFAS exposure and various forms of cancer. Studies, including one conducted by Biomonitoring California, have detected elevated levels of PFAS in firefighters, highlighting the pervasive nature of exposure. Additionally, research from UC Berkeley and Harvard University suggests that millions of individuals may have been exposed to PFAS through contaminated drinking water sources. Arlene Blum, co-author of the study and an expert in chemistry and environmental policy, expressed concerns over the contamination of drinking water supplies, particularly during firefighting exercises where large quantities of these chemicals are washed into surface and groundwater sources.

h, Firefighting Foam Cancer Side Effects and Complications

Firefighting foam has been linked to various types of cancer and health complications, including testicular, bladder, kidney, thyroid, prostate, ovarian, pancreatic, breast cancers, as well as non-Hodgkin lymphoma, fertility issues, immune system damage, liver cancer, and leukemia. If you are a firefighter, airport personnel, military member, mill worker, or resident near affected areas, such as airports, military bases, or industrial plants, and have suffered health problems due to AFFF firefighting foam, consult with an experienced attorney specializing in AFFF cases to explore your legal rights and options.

While nothing can fully compensate for the suffering caused by corporate negligence, at Dolman Law Group, our dedicated mass tort attorneys are committed to aggressively pursuing justice for our clients and their families, safeguarding their rights, and advocating for the justice they rightfully deserve.

i, Current and Past Actions Being Taken Against AFFF Manufacturers

Various actions have been initiated against manufacturers of Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) due to its association with PFAS contamination. Many fire departments have ceased using AFFF containing PFAS, acknowledging the hazardous nature of these chemicals. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with the military and manufacturers, are cognizant of the risks posed by PFAS in firefighting foam.

The Department of Defense (DoD) has identified around 401 military sites potentially affected by PFAS contamination from AFFF. They have allocated significant funds for cleaning up these areas surrounding bases where AFFF was utilized in training exercises. Efforts are underway within the Navy to develop PFAS-free foam and establish protocols for disposing of current AFFF stocks.

Legislation such as the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 mandated airports to discontinue the use of AFFF containing PFAS by October 2021. Litigation, including multidistrict litigation consolidating approximately 500 cases under the AFFF Product Liability category, is centralized in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. Judge Richard Gergel oversees discovery, pretrial matters, and additional tort cases related to PFAS.

In Ohio, a U.S. District Court jury in Columbus awarded compensation to a couple affected by PFAS contamination, attributing their health issues to contaminated water supplied by Dupont Co. Shareholders have also pursued class-action lawsuits against companies for allegedly misleading investors regarding PFAS liabilities.

Several states, including Vermont, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Alabama, New Hampshire, Ohio, Washington, New Mexico, and California, have filed lawsuits targeting companies responsible for contaminating community water systems with PFAS. Additionally, Dupont and Chemours are engaged in legal disputes as they dispute liability for PFAS contamination.