Firefighters have long faced an unreasonably high risk of cancer due to the hazards of breathing in smoke and other carcinogens every time they risk their lives by battling a fire.
Recent studies suggest, however, that even the fire department equipment meant to protect them could contain carcinogens.
That’s because of the use of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA or C8), which has been linked in some studies to an increased risk of testicular cancer. Firefighters repeatedly put their lives on the line to protect other people—they should be able to depend their firefighter gear to not be one of the dangers they face on the job.
Attorneys at Patterson Dahlberg are investigating possible firefighter cancer lawsuits against the companies responsible for exposing firefighters to an increased risk of testicular cancer. If you or a loved one was a firefighter and developed testicular cancer please contact us to discuss your options.
If you or a loved one was a firefighter and developed testicular cancer please contact us to discuss your options.
What is the link between C8 and testicular cancer?
A 2012 study conducted by the C8 Science Panel concluded there was a probable link between exposure to C8 and the development of testicular cancer.
“Among medically confirmed cases, testicular cancer showed a positive trend of increasing RR [relative risk] with increasing cumulative exposure in internal analysis comparing the more highly exposed to the low-exposed,” researchers wrote. They also noted that the elevated risk for testicular cancer was the most notable finding.
“We conclude that there is a probable link between PFOA and both testicular and kidney cancer,” researchers wrote.
A 2015 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggested that firefighters are at a higher risk for certain kinds of cancer, including testicular cancer. That study included approximately 30,000 firefighters over a 60-year span and compared their rates cancer with the rates in the general population.
What is PFOA?
Perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as PFOA or C8, is a man-made chemical used to make Teflon and other fluorotelomers. According to the American Cancer Society, it can stay in the environment or in the human body for long periods. Firefighting gear and firefighter equipment can both have PFOAs.
In firefighter safety gear, textiles use C8s to repel oil and water, and resist harmful chemicals from penetrating the firefighter gear and exposing firefighters to toxins.
DuPont reportedly produced C8 at its Parkersburg plant in the 1950s but stopped making it in or around 2005 after facing thousands of personal injury lawsuits. Overseas, some countries have moved to limit PFOAs and substances that contain PFOAs.
In 2014, Germany and Norway proposed that PFOAs be limited to no more than 2 parts per billion in any items that contained PFOAs.
Does PFOA Cause Cancer?
The American Cancer Society notes that PFOA has been linked in studies to testicular cancer. Meanwhile, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which is part of the World Health Organization, has classified PFOA as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
A 2012 study by the C8 Science Panel concluded that there is a probable link between PFOA and testicular cancer.
In 2001, DuPont faced a PFOA class action lawsuit filed from residents who lived near the company’s Parkersburg, West Virginia, plant. The residents alleged the plant leaked C8 (perflouorooctanoic acid), which contaminated local water supplies and caused illness in the residents. In 2017, DuPont and a spinoff company agreed to settle the lawsuits for around $671 million.
Firefighters are among the bravest of our citizens and they deserve to have firefighter safety gear that won’t expose them to additional toxins or illnesses.
If you or a loved one has worked as a firefighter and has been diagnosed with testicular cancer linked to PFOA exposure, contact an attorney at Patterson Dahlberg today to discuss your legal options. Our attorneys will fight to protect your rights.