Dayton Sues Foam Manufacturers Over AFFF Related Contamination

The City of Dayton is the latest community to file suit against the nation’s largest firefighting foam manufacturers, blaming them for the contamination of the area surrounding Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

The suit was filed today in US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio naming 3M Company, Buckeye Fire Equipment Company, Chemguard, Inc., Tyco Fire Products L.P., and National Foam, Inc. as defendants. The contamination is due to two toxic byproducts of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), namely perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS).

According to the complaint, the contamination was discovered in 2016 and caused the city “substantial past and future damages for the treatment and removal of the contamination of its public drinking water supply wells by treating the water in those wells to eliminate contamination caused and/or created by Defendants’ products, and to protect the public health, safety, welfare, and the environment.”

Quoting from the complaint:

  • Defendants manufactured, marketed, and sold aqueous film-forming foam (“AFFF”), a firefighting product used to control and extinguish aviation, marine, fuel, and other flammable liquid fires.
  • AFFF contained perfluorooctanoic acid (“PFOA”) and/or perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (“PFOS”), and/or contained the precursors of PFOS and PFOA.
  • PFOA and PFOS are toxic, do not biodegrade, are persistent in the environment, move easily through soil and groundwater, absorb into concrete, and pose a significant risk to human health and safety.
  • PFOA and PFOS are associated with a variety of illnesses, including but not limited to kidney cancer, testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, pregnancy induced hypertension (including preeclampsia), and hypercholesterolemia. The chemicals are particularly dangerous for pregnant women and young children. Defendants were aware since the 1960’s and 70’s that PFOA and PFOS were toxic, do not biodegrade, are persistent in the environment, move easily through soil and groundwater and pose a significant risk to human health and health and safety, but elected to use these chemicals and not warn their customers, placing profits over human health.

Here is a copy of the complaint: 2018 Dayton v 3M

 

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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