Lawsuit Claims Man Developed Kidney Cancer Due To Firefighting Foam
A lawsuit filed on December 8 in federal court in South Carolina alleges that a Florida man developed kidney cancer, necessitating kidney removal, due to exposure to PFAS chemicals in firefighting foam. The complaint states the man was exposed to firefighting foam in training and while extinguishing fires while he worked as a firefighter.
The complaint names multiple defendants who “collectively designed, marketed, developed, manufactured, distributed, released, trained users, produced instructional materials, promoted, sold, and/or otherwise released into the stream of commerce” firefighting foam “with knowledge that it contained highly toxic and bio persistent PFAS” chemicals, including 3M and DuPont.
The lawsuit notes that, by at least the end of the 1980s, research showed that PFOA, a PFAS chemical, caused testicular tumors in rats, “resulting in at least one such Defendant, DuPont, classifying such PFAS internally as a confirmed animal carcinogen and possible human carcinogen.”
“It was understood by Defendants by at least the end of the 1980s that a chemical that caused cancer in animal studies must be presumed to present a cancer risk to humans, unless the precise mechanism of action by which the tumors were caused was known and would not occur in humans,” the complaint states, adding that, to this day, no known mechanism of action is known behind PFOA causing tumors.
The complaint notes that research performed by “at least DuPont” found elevated cancer incidence in workers exposed to PFAS, including at least PFOA, “but such data was not published, provided to governmental entities as required by law, or otherwise publicly disclosed at the time.”
The complaint states that, by the end of the 1990s, research and testing done by “at least 3M and DuPont” found that PFOA caused testicular, liver and pancreatic tumors in rats.
The complaint notes that, by at least 2010, additional research and testing done by “at least 3M and DuPont” found increased cancer incidence in workers exposed to PFAS, including at least PFOA.
The complaint states an independent science panel known as the “C8 Science Panel,” in the 2010s, publicly announced that human exposure to 0.05 parts per billion of PFOA had a “probable” link with kidney cancer and testicular cancer.
The complaint claims that, despite all of the above, the defendants failed to provide sufficient warning to consumers that their products posed a cancer risk.
“To this day, Defendants deny that the presence of any PFAS in human blood, at any level, is an injury or presents any harm or risk of harm of any kind, or is otherwise of any legal, toxicological, or medical significance,” the complaint alleges.
The complaint seeks to recover damages based on numerous causes of action, including:
- Inadequate warning
- Design defect
- Strict liability (statutory)
- Strict liability (restatement)
- Fraudulent concealment
- Breach of express and implied warranties