Louisiana – March 17, 2021

Louisiana firefighters responded to a fire on a tugboat in the Mississippi River near East Baton Rouge Parish, forcing crew members to abandon the vessel. Early Wednesday morning, East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s reported the boat was engulfed in flames near Profit Island.  It was unclear what caused the boat fire, but all four crew members were able to escape safely. The U.S. Coast Guard is leading an investigation into the incident.  In the course of their professional duties, firefighters are often harmed by the use of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF, or alcohol resistant AR-AFFF) because it is one of the most effective techniques to control hazardous flammable liquid fires.   When firefighters are diagnosed with medical conditions caused by exposure to work-related chemicals, attorneys at the Law Offices of Stag Liuzza can offer consultation to individuals who are concerned that named health problems may be caused by exposure to AFFF.

AFFF negative health complications.

Medical studies have linked a plethora of illnesses to AFF chemicals, including liver malfunction, alterations in hormones, thyroid disruption, colitis, obesity, high cholesterol and kidney and testicular cancer.  Other studies have cited decreased fertility, negative affects to immune system, impacts to children’s growth and learning disabilities to these chemicals.  The Centers for Disease Control claims more research needs to be concluded to rule out a definite link between negative health effects and exposure to PFAS.  Experienced Louisiana attorneys can discuss concerns surrounding the use of AFFF and guide legal action when appropriate.

Firefighter exposure precautions.

 Fire departments develop standard operating procedures to decrease negative effects of the toxins that surround the work actions involved in firefighting.  Often personnel are required to limit the negative effects of AFFFs with PFAS/PFOA and PFOS by:

  • Replacing AFFF stock with fluorine-free foam solutions,
  • Manage and containment of AFFF and water runoff,
  • Using personal protective equipment and self-contained breathing apparatus when using AFFF,
  • Removing and bagging contaminated personal protective gear before transport,
  • Cleaning skin on face, neck, and hands immediately after exposure,
  • De-contaminating personal protective equipment and self-contained breathing units before use,
  • Showering within one hour of returning to fire station, or home after exposure.

Worker’s compensation laws.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission has a specific process to be undertaken when a person becomes injured on the job, contracts an illness that is job-related, or dies on the job, necessitating a workers’ compensation claim for monetary damages. Environmental attorneys at Stag Liuzza can work with  victims of toxic exposures that result in death, or leave workers with permanent disability. Wrongful death legal actions may also be initiated in some cases.

Hire legal counsel.

When individuals feel job-related dangers associated  with firefighting activities resulted in prolonged exposures to AFFF, causing chronic illness, it may be prudent to discuss the case particulars with experienced attorneys who understand subsequent dangers of AFFF exposure.

STAG LIUZZA, LLC

One Canal Place
365 Canal Street
Suite 2850
New Orleans, LA 70130

Ph: 504-593-9600
Fax: 504-593-9601

 

Sources.

https://www.wbrz.com/news/crew-escapes-burning-tugboat-in-mississippi-river

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/firefighters/health.html

https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2014/12/17/cancer-ff/

https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/pgms/worknotify/pdfs/ff-cancer-factsheet-final-508.pdf

https://www.legis.la.gov/legis/Law.aspx?d=83496

http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/Law.aspx?d=814789

https://legis.la.gov/legis/Law.aspx?d=110567

http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/Law.aspx?d=109387

http://www.laworks.net/WorkersComp/OWC_MainMenu.asp

http://www.legis.la.gov/legis/Law.aspx?d=109371

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