PFAS-Containing Firefighting Foam Spill in Wisconsin Endangers Residents

Person testing water

Earlier this year, a small town in Wisconsin called Menomonie discovered concerning levels of PFAS (per- and polyfluroalkyl substances) known as “forever chemicals” in its groundwater. The contamination was caused by a container of firefighting foam that had spilled at a nearby 3M manufacturing facility in 2022.

Did you know?

PFAS are added to certain firefighting foams to help extinguish serious fires. Unfortunately, exposure to PFAS-containing firefighting foam has been linked to several types of cancer.

Menomonie has now become a focal point in the rising concerns of PFAS contamination connected to firefighting foam, which has jeopardized the health of hundreds of thousands of firefighters across the nation.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer after being exposed to PFAS-containing firefighting foam, you may be entitled to compensation. Find out your eligibility during a free case review.

Unveiling the Crisis: The Extent of PFAS Contamination

A professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stout first discovered the contamination. The soil and groundwater at the 3M facility were found to have PFAS levels substantially higher than state safety standards.

Since then, Menomonie’s 17,000 residents have been concerned about health effects related to the cancer-causing chemical.

The town’s well water is currently clear of PFAS, but the extent of the contamination and its long-term effects are not yet known. The community remains on high alert as manufacturing giant 3M works with government authorities on clean-up efforts.

3M’s Response to PFAS Concerns

3M is one of the leading PFAS manufacturers, using the chemical for several applications, like nonstick cookware and water-repellent clothing. The chemical company was one of the first to manufacture a type of firefighting foam known as aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) for military use.

In 2023, 3M agreed to pay $10.3 billion to settle PFAS water contamination lawsuits filed by municipalities across the country.

As a result of this legal pressure, the company said it would phase out PFAS usage by 2025. However, the incident in Menomonie highlights that the dangers of PFAS may affect communities for years to come.

Health Issues Linked to PFAS Exposure

Characterized by their strong carbon-fluorine bonds, PFAS chemicals are incredibly resistant to breaking down in the environment and the human body, which is why they have been nicknamed “forever chemicals.”

People can be exposed to PFAS by drinking contaminated water, eating contaminated food, or coming into direct contact with PFAS-containing products like firefighting foam.

U.S. military firefighters and firefighters assigned to airports are among those at the highest risk of PFAS exposure due to the high levels of these toxic chemicals in foams used to extinguish high-intensity fuel fires on military airfields and flight decks.

PFAS-related cancers include:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Liver cancer
  • Lymphoma
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Uterine/endometrial cancer

Firefighters, military personnel, and other workers exposed to cancer–causing firefighting foam may want to tell their health care providers about their exposure, so they can be monitored for any related health problems.

Looking Forward: Legal Help for PFAS Cancer

The PFAS contamination in Wisconsin is a stark reminder of the enduring legacy PFAS will have due to companies like 3M profiting from firefighting foam and other products that endanger public health.

If you or a loved were exposed to firefighting foam and later diagnosed with cancer, you may be able to file a lawsuit to pursue compensation to help pay for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.

LawFirm.com works with top personal injury lawyers who have recovered over $9.3 billion for victims of injustice in all 50 states.

See if they can help you get the compensation and justice you deserve by calling our case managers at (888) 726-9160 right now or filling out our online form.

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ReferencesView References
  1. AP News. “3M reaches $10.3 billion settlement over contamination of water systems with ‘forever chemicals.’” Retrieved from: https://apnews.com/article/pfas-forever-chemicals-3m-drinking-water-81775af23d6aeae63533796b1a1d2cdb. Accessed March 27, 2024.
  2. BNN Breaking. “Menomonie Grapples with PFAS Crisis: A Closer Look at the Fallout from a 3M Incident.” Retrieved from: https://bnnbreaking.com/world/us/menomonie-grapples-with-pfas-crisis-a-closer-look-at-the-fallout-from-a-3m-incident. Accessed March 27, 2024.
  3. Sokolove Law. “Firefighting Foam or AFFF Lawsuit.” Retrieved from: https://www.sokolovelaw.com/personal-injury/workplace/chemical-exposure/firefighting-foam/. Accessed on March 27, 2024.

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