Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a family of synthetic chemicals that do not break down in the environment very easily. As discussed in a previous Forester Haynie Latest News article found here, PFAS has been shown to cause a myriad of health issues, including a heightened risk of kidney and testicular cancer.
PFAS is commonly found in products such as nonstick cookware, cleaning products, clothes that repel water, fast food wrappers, microwavable popcorn bags, candy wrappers, pizza boxes, shampoos, dental floss, paints, and more. It can also be found in the environment, like in water (including drinking water), air, and soil.
The effects of PFAS are extremely far-reaching. 99% of all people have PFAS in their bodies, and PFAS has traveled so far over the globe, that it has been found to be inside of polar bears and is causing problems with their natural hormone releases.
It has been long overdue, but in October 2021, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that they will be developing a strategy to crack down on PFAS through the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The Biden administration’s EPA created a roadmap and published it on the EPA website for how PFAS will be regulated from 2021 until 2024.
Trends in litigation show that PFAS litigation is going to continue to grow. These trends, coupled with the new roadmap laid out by the EPA are encouraging signs that justice will be sought for the victims of excess PFAS exposure. At the beginning of 2021, a massive PFAS lawsuit was settled with the defendants, DuPont, Chemours, and Corteva paying over $4 billion to the victims of PFAS exposure.
PFAS chemicals are also referred to as “forever chemicals” because the half-life (the time it takes for half of the amount of a chemical compound to break down) of various PFAS is multiple years. Given how pervasive PFAS with the products nearly every person uses on a daily basis, PFAS will remain in almost every human for the foreseeable future.
Forester Haynie is currently investing the environmental and human injury impacts of PFAS.
Written by Law Clerk: Jordan Farber