Fifteen retired and active-duty firefighters from Massachusetts say in a federal lawsuit filed against two dozen companies that so-called “forever chemicals” in their gear and in firefighting foam manufactured by the businesses contributed to their cancer diagnoses.
The firefighters from the Worcester, Norwood, Brockton, Fall River and Boston departments allege in the suit filed Tuesday that the class of chemicals known as PFAS were a “substantial factor and proximate cause of the cancers, serious illnesses and bodily injuries.”
All the plaintiffs recently found out that they have “significantly elevated” levels of PFAS in their blood, according to the lawsuit.
The 25 companies for decades “were aware of the toxic nature of PFAS and the harmful impact these substances have on human health,” yet continued to manufacture and distribute them without informing firefighters or the public of the risks of exposure to the chemicals, the lawsuit said.
The firefighters, and the wife of one of them, are seeking unspecified monetary damages for, among other things, negligence, unfair or deceptive practices, and loss of consortium.
No attorneys were listed for the defendant companies.
PFAS, an abbreviation for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are known as forever chemicals because they do not break down in the environment, and have been linked to multiple health problems in humans.