Many firefighters rely on fire-resistant clothing and equipment to protect themselves from the hazards of their job. However, these products may come with unintended consequences, including the long-term effects of firefighting foam.
Different foams are manufactured to serve different purposes, but all pose risks to the wearer’s health. Some may contain carcinogens, which can lead to certain types of cancer in both firefighters and their families. You can file a firefighter foam lawsuit if you are already a victim of cancer or any other disability due to exposure to PFAS.
Here are the long-term effects of exposure to higher concentrations of PFAS.
Increased risk of certain types of cancer
If you are exposed to a high concentration of PFAS, you are at higher risk for developing certain types of cancer. For instance, firefighters who come into contact with PFAS in the air while fighting blazes are at a greater risk of cancer in their kidneys and respiratory tract. Increased risk of these types of cancers has been linked to PFAS exposure, and it is a well-established fact that firefighters who work in firefighting foam tend to have an increased risk of lung cancer compared to those who don’t.
Pregnancy complications and decreased fertility in women
Several studies have shown that women exposed to PFAS are at a greater risk of experiencing complications like miscarriage and gestational hypertension. Pregnant women who are exposed to firefighting foam may have trouble conceiving or carrying their child full term.
Developmental delays in children, including low birth weights
Although it is not yet known for certain whether these chemicals cause developmental disabilities in children, they are known to alter the hormones and enzymes that control the reproductive system. Children exposed to higher concentrations of PFAS in food, water, and air tend to have lower birth weights. A better understanding of this connection may help to determine whether PFAS can lead to learning disabilities and other behavioral problems.
Reduced immune system response
PFAS are known to suppress the immune system, which can make you more susceptible to illnesses or infections. Severe exposure to PFAS has been linked to suppressed immune systems in animals and humans, and it may also reduce the ability of your body to fight infections.
Increased cholesterol levels and obesity risk
Besides cholesterol, PFAS are also known to increase your risk of developing heart disease through increased blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and a fatty liver.