The Dangers of PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of manufactured chemicals used to make a variety of products ranging from clothing and furniture to food packaging. These chemicals have been widely used since the 1940s and are known for their ability to resist heat, oil, and water. This durability, however, is also what creates its health risks. Because PFAS break down very slowly, they are known as ‘forever chemicals’ that can build up in people, animals, and the environment.

PFAS exposure can occur in several ways including:

  • Drinking water contaminated with PFAS
  • Eating foods that may contain PFAS
  • Using products made with PFAS
  • Working in occupations that involve PFAS (e.g., firefighting or military training)

Studies from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found that nearly every American has been exposed to PFAS and has these chemicals in their blood. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), long-term exposure to PFAS can result in adverse health effects including cancer.

PFAS and Firefighting Foam

One way in which PFAS has contaminated the environment is through a firefighting foam called aqueous film forming foam (AFFF). AFFF contains PFAS that, when mixed with water, create a foam that quickly cools and extinguishes fires. AFFF is commonly used to extinguish flammable liquid fires from Class B materials such as oil, gasoline, jet fuel and other petroleum products that water alone cannot put out.

In addition to being used by fire fighters, AFFF has been used in training exercises at military bases and airports for several decades. By spraying large amounts of the foam, PFAS are spread throughout the surrounding area where they eventually contaminate the soil and drinking water. People who work directly with AFFF or live near facilities that use it are at risk of developing serious health problems from long term exposure.

Manufacturers Failed to Warn the Public

In a 2023 paper published in Annals of Global Health, researchers gathered and examined documents from DuPont and 3M – the two largest manufacturers of PFAS – that revealed both companies knew about the dangers of PFAS decades before the public health community. These previously secret documents also showed how the chemical industry used several strategies such as suppressing unfavorable research to influence regulation.

In a 1970 memo, a DuPont-funded laboratory found a type of PFAS called C8 to be “highly toxic when inhaled and moderately toxic when ingested.” In 1980, both DuPont and 3M learned that two of eight pregnant employees who worked with C8 gave birth to children with birth defects but did not inform their other employees. Despite these findings, the chemical companies continued manufacturing and distributing PFAS-containing products.

Qualifying Illnesses for PFAS Lawsuits

In recent years, thousands of PFAS-related lawsuits have been filed against DuPont and 3M for their negligence. The most hard-hit communities include firefighters, military personnel, employees at chemical manufacturing facilities, and people living in or near contaminated areas.

Hendler Flores Law is accepting cases of individuals with exposure to PFAS who have developed one or more of the following illnesses:

  • Kidney cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Bladder cancer
  • Thyroid disease
  • Liver cancer

Contact Us For a Free Legal Consultation

If you have worked with or been exposed to PFAS chemicals and have developed cancer, we’d like to hear your story. No amount of compensation can make up for the life-changing impact of your cancer on you and your family, but holding the companies accountable can help bring you peace of mind.

There is no cost or obligation to call us for a free case consultation. Contact us at 1.800.443.6353 or email us at Your story matters. Let us help you tell it.