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Ulcerative colitis due to AFFF exposure

As a form of inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis occurs in 750,000 people nationwide. Ulcerative colitis is a disease in which abnormal reactions of the immune system cause inflammation in the lining of the large intestine. One of the risk factors for this disease is exposure to AFFF, a fire suppressant used by civilian and military firefighters. Because AFFF contains between 50% and 98% PFAS, a group of toxic chemicals, it is a major health threat to firefighters.

Even with protective gear, firefighters who use the fire suppressant are exposed to PFAS. Furthermore, these substances are also present in their turnout gear to shield them from extreme heat and fire. However, as the gear wears out, it releases PFAS, which firefighters can easily breathe in. Out of this group of over 9,000 chemicals, PFOA was found to have a strong association with ulcerative colitis, and it is nearly always present in the AFFF firefighters use.

A study found a significant association between high blood PFOA levels and ulcerative colitis in a cohort of 32,000 individuals. Moreover, a considerably increased risk of ulcerative colitis was found in a cohort of over 3,000 people in another study. Still, while there is a strong connection between PFOA exposure and ulcerative colitis, the underlying mechanism is unclear. If you are or were a civilian or military firefighter who used AFFF, these are the symptoms of ulcerative colitis you should be on the lookout for:

  • abdominal pain and cramps
  • rectal bleeding
  • urgency to defecate
  • inability to defecate
  • diarrhea, often with blood
  • unintentional weight loss

The mechanisms by which PFAS exposure might cause ulcerative colitis include the induction of a dysfunctional intestinal barrier and interference with the bile acids metabolism. It is important to note that PFAS enter the same circulation as bile acids, so they might impact the absorption of these bile acids in the small intestine. If you are a civilian or military firefighter and struggle with ulcerative colitis due to AFFF exposure, we strongly encourage you to contact Atraxia Law, as you might be entitled to compensation.

Our expert team can efficiently help you file your AFFF exposure claim

Atraxia Law has the necessary experience, resources, and knowledge to help you find out whether you are eligible to file a claim for AFFF exposure as a civilian or military firefighter with ulcerative colitis. The process is simple, as you will only have to send us your employment or military records and your medical records. If we determine that you are entitled to compensation, we will immediately put you in touch with a specialized attorney so you can have your claim filed.

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