Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as “forever chemicals,” are a class of manufactured biologically and environmentally persistent compounds that have been used in a wide variety of industries since the 1940s. PFAS have been historically used and are still used in consumer products and industrial applications, including nonstick cookware, food packaging, cosmetic products, building and construction materials, firefighting products, textiles, and plastics. PFAS can also be released into the environment during manufacturing and processing as well as during industrial and commercial use. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
PFAS are known to display oleophobic and oleophilic properties, By replacing carbon-hydrogen bonds in organic compounds with carbon-fluorine bonds, PFAS have proven to be resistant to heat, water, oil, and degradation, persisting in the environment for many years.
The number of known PFAS continues to evolve to reflect ongoing study of the compounds as well as the engineering of new compounds.
The public’s exposure to PFAS has led to a body of regulation and litigation over the last few decades. In recent years, PFAS-related regulation and litigation have escalated, coinciding with an increase in research and public interest in the ecological, environmental, and human health impacts of PFAS. Federal agencies, particularly EPA, and the U.S. Congress have used their rulemaking and lawmaking authority to bring attention to and regulate the proliferation of PFAS. The majority of regulation and litigation relates to PFAS contamination in drinking water, firefighting products such as aqueous film-forming foam, consumer food products including food packaging, and consumer cosmetic products like hair products and makeup.
This article provides a brief overview of the historic trends in PFAS regulation and litigation as well as an examination of the recent trends in PFAS laws and lawsuits.
Federal Regulation of PFAS and Guidance by EPA
Meaningful regulation of PFAS began in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Prior to that, PFAS were largely unregulated. Although there is currently no federal regulation or federally enforceable standard for PFAS in the environment, EPA has utilized its rulemaking authority under several federal laws—and the also known as Superfund—to regulate PFAS and provide PFAS-related guidance.
TSCA and significant new use rules.Prior to the start of meaningful and PFAS-specific regulation, this process captured some data and safety information related to PFAS. Otherwise, PFAS were largely unregulated until 2002.
In 2002, EPA used its authority under TSCA to regulate certain PFAS by implementing significant new use rules for PFAS, including two specific PFAS chemicals, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS).The same year, Later that same year,
Over the years, EPA’s regulation of PFAS under TSCA became more specific.
as Also in 2020, EPA strengthened the regulation of PFAS by requiring notice and EPA review of the use of certain long-chain PFAS that were previously phased out of production in the U.S. Further, EPA banned the import of products containing certain long-chain PFAS as surface coatings, textiles, furniture, electronics, and
More recently, in January 2023, EPA proposed a significant new use rule that wouldThe
Given the sheer amount of PFAS in existence, both active and inactive, it is highly likely that EPA will continue to regulate PFAS under TSCA and continue to propose new significant new use rules.
PFOA stewardship programs. Beyond asserting its rulemaking authority, EPA has attempted to impact PFAS manufacturing and mitigate potential contamination through voluntary means. In 2006, EPA invited eight major PFAS producers to join a new PFOA Stewardship Program. The participants in the program pledged to reduce 95% of their facilities’ PFOA emissions by 2010, using year 2000 data as the baseline for a company’s emissions and product content information, by ceasing the manufacture and import of long-chain PFAS and then transitioning to alternative chemicals.
According to EPA,
To build off the success of the first PFOA Stewardship Program, EPA has tried additional voluntary programs.Typically, The program was an The program was As a companion to other efforts contained in its Strategic Roadmap, discussed in more detail below,
Drinking water health advisories and the SDWA. The SDWA authorizes EPA to issue health advisories for contaminants that are not subject to theDrinking water health advisories provide information on contaminants that can cause human health effects and are known or anticipated to occur in drinking water. EPA’s health advisories are nonenforceable and nonregulatory. Instead, they provide technical information to drinking water system operators, as well as federal, state, tribal, and local officials,
In 2006, EPA conducted limited testing of agricultural sites in Alabama where sewage sludge was applied from a local wastewater treatment plant that received wastewater from numerous industrial sources, including facilities that manufacture and use PFOA.EPA then conducted sampling of the local public drinking water. Yet, at the time, information on the toxicity of perfluorinated chemicals was limited, and epidemiological studies of exposure to
EPA’s risk assessment reflected that, as a general matter, a single exposure to a developmental toxin at a critical time in development can produce an adverse effect. In addition, the study concluded that short-term exposure to PFAS can potentially be harmful to humans. Thus, EPA recommended a lifetime health advisory for PFOA of 0.07 μg/L to apply to both short-term (i.e., weeks to months) scenarios during instances of vulnerable health,
The 2016 drinking water health advisories for PFOA and PFOS were replaced in June 2022 when EPA issued interim updated drinking water health advisories. EPA’s 2022 health advisories,The 2022 health advisories are only interim.
The proposed rule would require public water systems to monitor for these PFAS, notify the public of the levels of these PFAS, EPA anticipates finalizing the regulation by the end of 2023 and expects that if fully implemented,
EPA PFAS action plans and Strategic Roadmap. Over the years, EPA has issued several PFAS-related “action plans.” These action plans set forth EPA’s short-term and long-term strategies and goals related to PFAS.
First, in 2009, EPA published its Long-Chain Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFCs) Action Plan. The plan was intended to describe the courses of action the agency planned to pursue in the near term to address its concerns about PFAS. Notably, the action plan was one of the first times EPA outright acknowledged a link between PFAS and adverse health outcomes.The action plan then discussed previous rulemakings under TSCA and areas of concern regarding direct releases of PFAS into the environment.
A more robust action plan was published by EPA in 2019. The EPA’s Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Action Plan (2019 Action Plan) was intended to outline the steps EPA was taking to protect public health by addressing PFAS. EPA provided four “PFAS management actions” and additional short-term actions. The PFAS management actions included initiating a regulatory process to set maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFOA and PFOS, designating PFOA and PFOS as “hazardous substances,” developing groundwater cleanup recommendations for PFOA and PFOS at contaminated sites,Short-term actions included developing analytical methods and tools for understanding and managing PFAS risk, promulgating significant new use rules that require EPA notification before chemicals are used in new ways that may create human health and ecological concerns,
The 2019 Action Plan was followed up in 2021 by EPA’s most expansive PFAS strategy to date, the PFAS Strategic Roadmap: EPA’s Commitments to Action 2021–2024 (Strategic Roadmap). The Strategic Roadmap builds upon the 2019 Action Plan and expands the agency’s approach to address PFAS. The Strategic Roadmap lays out the agency’s proposed actions through 2024, including:
- establishing enforceable PFAS drinking water limits;
- designating PFAS as hazardous substances under CERCLA;
- establishing cleanup efforts and specific requirements for remediation;
- limiting or prohibiting future uses of PFAS;
- preventing new releases;
- developing a national PFAS testing strategy;
- further study of the effects on human health and the environment, including several research grants, requiring PFAS manufacturers to conduct and fund the studies; and
- more research into PFAS treatment
EPA has made progress toward achieving its goals laid out in the Strategic Roadmap.EPA provided that the memo will help minimize PFAS pollution in surface water as In May 2022, These values, measured in milligrams per kilogram, are known as Regional Screening Levels and Regional Removal Management Levels. However, screening and removal management levels are not cleanup standards. These mechanisms allow site teams to make better site decisions that will protect nearby communities.
EPA continues to propose and enact significant new use rules related to PFAS.The same month, EPA released its final effluent limitations guidelines (ELGs) Plan 15, including a determination that revised ELGs and pretreatment standards are warranted for reducing PFAS in leachate discharges from landfills.
EPA is making progress to achieve the goals of the Strategic Roadmap and will continue to utilize its rulemaking and advisory authority to, in its own words,
EPA is not alone in its efforts to accelerate the study and regulation of PFAS. Congress has also made attempts to regulate PFAS and has provided funding for PFAS research and remediation. Several congressional bills have been introduced to assist with EPA’s goals under the 2019 Action Plan and Strategic Roadmap.
One of the most significant bills, the PFAS Action Act of 2019, was introduced by a bipartisan group of U.S. senators to mandate EPA to declare PFAS as hazardous substances eligible for cleanup funds under CERCLA.
Similarly, the Keep Food Containers Safe from PFAS Act of 2021 never made it out of the House. The act was intended to
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (NDAA) authorized Congress to direct EPA to develop a process for prioritizing PFAS or classes of PFAS that should be subject to additional research efforts based on potential for human exposure to, toxicity of,The NDAA was signed by the president and became law at the end of 2019.
Under the direction of Congress, enabled by the NDAA,
PFAS have also been addressed in larger bills that are not environmentally focused, such as the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $9 billion to invest in drinking water systems specifically impacted by PFAS and other emerging contaminants,States and communities
Most recently, in June 2023, the Senate also tried to legislate PFAS through national rules. Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)—chair and ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, respectively—released draft PFAS legislation (Draft Package) for stakeholder comment. The Draft Package seeks to compel EPA to make official national rules for PFAS. Currently, state PFAS laws have varied in stringency. Some of the important provisions of the Draft Package include:
- Setting a September 30, 2024, deadline for EPA to complete its ongoing rulemaking process to set drinking water standards for specific PFAS
- Requiring EPA to contract with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to carry out a study within a year from enactment on both beneficial and nonessential uses of PFAS in commerce
- Authorizing $5 million for fiscal years 2024 through 2028 for EPA to educate the public regarding the hazards or potential risks resulting from various levels of exposure to PFAS
- Establishing an annual report from EPA to Congress on risk management and communication strategies used by the states, territories, and tribes for the hazards and potential risks posed by PFAS
- Authorizing $500 million for fiscal years 2024 through 2028 for EPA to direct research activities and grants to carry out a research and technology development program on nonregulatory strategies for the prevention, detection, destruction, and verification of emerging contaminants, with a focus on PFAS
It is clear that EPA and Congress intend to further their drive to establish national and enduring PFAS rules. It can be expected that additional rulemaking and legislating will continue intensely in the near future.
State-Level Regulation of PFAS
As EPA increased its focus on PFAS regulation at the federal level, some individual states followed suit at the state level. Specifically, some states established their own drinking water standards (some of which are stricter than EPA’s suggested standards under the 2022 drinking water health advisories) and limited or prohibited the use of PFAS in consumer products sold in their state.
State drinking water regulations. States that have enforceable drinking water standards include Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
For example, New York’s drinking water standards for emerging contaminants are among the most protective in the country. In 2020, New York State set MCLs of 10 ppt each for PFOA and PFOS.
State consumer products regulations. Several states have enacted outright bans on the manufacture and sale of products with “intentionally added PFAS.”such as PFAS added to make a product nonstick or waterproof.
Examples of PFAS prohibitions include:
- California banned, starting January 1, 2023, the sale of “plant fiber-based food packaging” that contains
- Maryland will ban, starting January 1, 2024, a manufacturer or distributor from manufacturing or knowingly selling, offering for sale, or distributing for sale or use in the state a food package
Other state PFAS-related regulations. Some states have enacted very specific regulations in order to tailor PFAS regulations to the state’s unique ecological features and PFAS-related issues.
For example, Maine enacted LD 1471, which amends the Maine Metallic Mineral Mining Act. LD 1471 includes a provision prohibiting the Department of Environmental Protection from issuing a
Yet, the aforementioned bills have not been without criticism and delays. Most notably, Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection officially delayed the reporting requirements of its landmark PFAS regulation for two years. Originally, the regulation required companies doing business in the state to begin reporting on the presence of PFAS in their products as of January 1, 2023.The Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources plans to hold public meetings later this year to discuss additional issues,
As these laws go into effect, the landscape of PFAS manufacturing and the sale of PFAS-containing products will be significantly impacted. Judging from the tenacity of many states to outpace EPA in PFAS regulation, it is likely that state regulation of PFAS will continue at an accelerated pace.
Early PFAS Litigation
Like PFAS regulation, PFAS-related litigation began in earnest in the late 1990s and early 2000s. PFAS litigation began with individual plaintiffs or classes of plaintiffs from an allegedly contaminated geographic area suing particular PFAS manufacturers for injuries caused by contamination resulting from disposal of PFAS into the local environment. As PFAS litigation evolved, the landscape shifted to broader class action suits involving individuals from all over the country, public utilities, and governmental entities suing for a wide range of relief for injuries or potential injuries resulting from contaminated drinking water and consumer products.
established that the DuPont chemical company disposed of more than 7,000 tons of PFOA-laced sludge onto Tennant’s property and into the Ohio River, from which the chemical leached into the ground and entered the local water table. The contaminated water killed many of Tennant’s cattle.
The case, Leach v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., paved the way for subsequent PFAS litigation. The plaintiffs in Leach alleged that DuPont discharged PFOA from DuPont’s Washington Works Plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia, contaminating local drinking water. The plaintiffs alleged that they had consumed water contaminated by PFOA and suffered or may eventually suffer bodily injury and wrongful death due to the exposure.
After Leach, EPA sued DuPont pursuant to TSCA in 2004, alleging that DuPont did not submit to the agency information the company had obtained regarding PFOA. Specifically, EPA alleged that DuPont withheld information revealing a substantial risk to human health and the environment based on the information DuPont’s own scientists had about PFOA toxicity and its presence in local drinking water supplies.
In 2006, the C8 Science Panel, formed as part of the settlement agreement in Leach, began its work to confirm the extent of probable links between PFOA exposure and disease. The panel utilized blood samples and other data collected from the Leach class members participating in the studies.The panel additionally reported that it
In 2010, the State of Minnesota commenced an action against 3M in Hennepin County alleging that 3M’s release of PFAS into the environment resulted in natural resource damages. The company legally disposed of its PFAS-containing wastes in landfills in the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
Two testicular cancer cases returned verdicts of $5.6 million and $12.5 million— The settlements
PFAS Litigation Today
In recent years, plaintiffs have filed broader class action suits that are typically consolidated into multidistrict ligation (MDL). Three cases in particular provide a survey of the kinds of PFAS lawsuits that are on the rise: drinking water contamination, consumer food products and food packaging, and consumer cosmetic products.
Drinking water litigation.(AFFF MDL). A vast majority of the complaints were filed by or on behalf of individuals (and their spouses or survivors). Complaints were also filed by governmental entities, public water suppliers, and private companies. The defendants encompassed nearly all of the largest AFFF and PFAS manufacturers, including DuPont, 3M, and Chemours.
The complaints in the AFFF MDL sought a variety of damages, such as compensatory damages, damages for medical expenses, funding for medical monitoring, and compensation for pain and suffering. Various plaintiffs also sought damages for injuries to wells, water, and other property, as well as the costs of investigating, remediating, restoring, monitoring, or treating that property.
Over 20 attorneys general filed lawsuits that were centralized in the AFFF MDL. The lawsuits alleged a number of claims, including defective design, failure to warn, public nuisance, trespass, and negligence. The attorneys general sought to recover damages and costs related to the investigation, cleanup, restoration, and treatment of natural resources from PFAS contamination. Several complaints sought injunctive relief. For example, the New Jersey attorney general sought an injunction to forbid the defendants from continuing to violate New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act. One utility sought an injunction to require the defendants to abate the nuisance they have created. Some complaints pursued an injunction that would require the defendants to investigate and remediate as may be necessary due to their AFFF products. Other state attorneys general, such as New York’s attorney general, added fraudulent transfer claims,
To address the “complexity” of the AFFF MDL, the court initially endorsed a bellwether program that focused only on certain cases filed by water providers and water utilities. The goal of the program was to ultimately have a representative case tried before a jury, which could assist in informing the parties on the strengths and weaknesses of their cases and defenses and, by extension, potentially help to resolve a broader group of cases in the MDL.
The complaint filed by the city alleged that 3M and other defendants were liable for the contamination of the city’s water supply based on various theories, Stuart’s attorney said that the city
On June 2, 2023, multiple defendants reached preliminary settlements, subject to court approval, not only in the Stuart matter but also of all claims filed against them by public water systems in the AFFF MDL. DuPont, Chemours, and Corteva announced a tentative agreement to resolve all claims alleging that the companies’ products contaminated public water systems with PFAS. The proposed agreement, totaling $1.185 billion, would resolve all PFAS-related drinking water claims brought by the public water systems class in the AFFF MDL as well as all public water suppliers around the country and in U.S. territories that could potentially have such claims. As part of the settlement, the three companies would collectively establish a water district settlement fund that would fund the removal of PFAS from public drinking water systems. Of the $1.185 billion, Chemours would contribute approximately $592 million, DuPont approximately $400 million, and Corteva approximately $193 million.
That settlement was followed by 3M’s settlement to resolve public water suppliers’ current and future claims concerning PFAS contamination. On June 22, 2023, 3M entered into a proposed settlement agreement with the public water suppliers to pay between $10.5 billion and $12.5 billion over the next several years. 3M agreed to pay up to an additional $5 million to cover the costs associated with the notice process, which would begin 14 days after the entry of the order granting preliminary approval. The settlement amount would be divided among “phase one” and “phase two” qualifying class members. Phase one class members are those with a measurable concentration of PFAS before June 22, 2023. Phase two class members are public water systems that do not have a water source with a documented concentration of PFAS on or before June 22, 2023,or serve as defined under the Safe Drinking Water Information System.
Phase one qualifying class members would be allocated $6.875 billion of the settlement amount, paid in installments. Phase two qualifying class members would be allocated between $3.625 billion and $5.625 billion, also payable in installments. The phase one funds would be separated into three distinct funds: the phase one action fund, the phase one supplemental fund, and the phase one special needs fund. Similarly, the phase two funds would be separated into four distinct funds: the phase two action fund, the phase two supplemental fund, the phase two special needs fund, and the phase two testing compensation fund. The action funds are intended to provide compensation for impacted water sources with a settlement amount based on data submitted by the plaintiffs. The supplemental funds compensate qualifying class members showing no measurable concentration of PFAS in their water sources currently but who show measurable concentrations later, or who have an impacted water source that did not exceed the proposed federal or an applicable state MCL under the SDWA at the time they submitted their claims and because of later testing show an exceedance of MCLs. The settlement award from the supplemental fund would be approximate (as close as reasonably possible) to the settlement award that each impacted water source would have been allocated had it been in the action fund with the later PFAS concentration. The special needs funds compensate qualifying class members who have already spent money to address PFAS detections in their impacted water sources, such as by taking wells offline, reducing flow rates, drilling new wells, pulling water from other sources, or purchasing supplemental water. The phase two testing compensation fund was created to allow active public water systems, with no evidence of PFAS contamination prior to June 22, 2023, to conduct testing that could help them establish eligibility for payments from the phase two fund.
If the settlement were ultimately approved, 3M would pay the first installment no earlier than July 1, 2024, and the remainder of the settlement amount would be paid in 12 separate installments due on April 15 of each calendar year from 2025 through 2036. Phase one and phase two class members would be paid simultaneously in accordance with the payment schedule. The phase two payments would have a “floor” of $3.625 billion and a “cap” of $5.625 billion.
On July 26, 2023, a group of 22 states and U.S. territories opposed the 3M settlement. The group, led by California and including Texas, New York, and the District of Columbia, opposed on the grounds that the $10 billion settlement is inadequate. Further, the group interpreted provisions in the settlement to mean that public water systems would be required to decide whether to opt in or out of the settlement before they would know how much money they would receive. The group was also concerned that the settlement could shift liability for future health issues caused by PFAS from 3M onto the water systems themselves. In addition to the states and territories,
On August 7, 2023, revisions to the proposed DuPont settlement were filed. In the revised settlement, DuPont agreed to:
- Provide public water providers with a method for estimating the payout amounts they would receive (under the original proposed settlement, they would have had to make their opt-out decisions without that information)
- Give public water providers 90 days to opt out, instead of the 60 days included in the original proposed settlement
- Withdraw a requested nationwide injunction, or temporary halt, of other PFAS lawsuits by the states against DuPont
The court set September 5, 2023, as the date to begin the notice plan for all eligible claimants and as the start of the 90-day period for water utilities to determine whether or not to opt in. Any objections to the settlement are due by November 4, 2023. Any eligible class members must opt out of the settlement by December 4, 2023. A list of all eligible class members that opt out or object must be filed with the court by December 6, 2023. DuPont has until December 18, 2023 (14 days after the opt-out deadline) to exercise its walk-away rights under the settlement agreement. The final fairness hearing is set for December 14, 2023. At the hearing, the judge will consider objections and concerns before deciding whether to give final approval.
The notice plan to all eligible claimants and the period for claimants to opt out or formally object to the settlement will start no later than September 12, 2023. Any objections to the settlement are due by November 11, 2023. Any eligible class members must opt out of the settlement by December 11, 2023. Details on 3M’s walk-away rights triggered by opt-outs or 3M’s rights to otherwise terminate the settlement have not been disclosed. The settlement will be considered during the final fairness hearing on February 2, 2024.
The preliminary approvals here do a number of things: they certify, for settlement purposes only, the settlement class; approve the notice to the settlement class and the notice plan; and appoint class counsel and class representatives, as well as a notice administrator, claims administrator, special master, and escrow agent. The preliminary approvals also establish the qualified settlement fund. In addition, the preliminary approvals put in place stays of all litigation brought by releasing parties against these two settling defendants.
The next steps in the AFFF MDL will be the final approval (or denial) of the proposed settlements and, if approved, notice to all eligible claimants, and various decisions by those public water suppliers to opt in, opt out, or further oppose the settlement. Depending on these independent decisions of the eligible claimants, it is possible that 3M’s and DuPont’s respective walk-away rights could be triggered.
On the horizon are other expected bellwether programs, including litigation of personal injury claims. The parties were directed to select 28 personal injury claims for the second bellwether pool involving plaintiffs who were allegedly exposed to AFFF through drinking water contamination. These cases will include eight kidney cancer claims, eight testicular cancer claims, eight thyroid disease claims, and four ulcerative colitis claims. In addition, they will be limited to individuals alleging that they were exposed to contaminated water near the Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, Willow Grove Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base, and Naval Air Warfare Center in Warminster.
Food packaging litigation. Turning to consumer products litigation, ongoing lawsuits against large national restaurant chains have been filed related to PFAS contamination in their food products. Two lawsuits were filed in March and April 2022 targeting McDonald’s and Burger King, seeking class action status. Essentially, the lawsuits allege that the restaurants committed fraud, misrepresentation, and false advertising for claiming that the food they serve is safe. The plaintiffs allege that the restaurants’ food is not safe as represented because the product packaging contains high levels of PFAS.
However, the plaintiff alleged that Burger King’s products are “not safe [and pose] a significant health risk to unsuspecting customers” and that Burger King did not “notify consumers” that its food products are
The complaint against McDonald’s filed in Illinois, Clark v. McDonald’s Corp., alleges causes of action for violation of state consumer protection statutes, violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act,The litigation is ongoing.
The McDonald’s and Burger King suits are expected to spark many additional lawsuits against large national restaurant chains on similar grounds. In a recent investigation,
Cosmetic products litigation. Consumer products lawsuits have also been filed against some of the world’s largest manufacturers of hair and beauty products.
In 2022, a National Institutes of Health study concluded that women who used certain hair-relaxing products several times a year were at a greater risk of developing uterine cancer and other illnesses.Following the study, numerous cases were filed against manufacturers and sellers of PFAS-containing cosmetic products. Many of the cases were later consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
includes allegations that the defendants, manufactured, sold, distributed, advertised, and promoted toxic hair products that caused the plaintiffs to develop cancers and other injuries. The plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages, monetary restitution, medical monitoring and equitable relief, and all other available remedies as a result of injuries incurred by the defendants’ defective products and other wrongful practices. The litigation is ongoing.
Other PFAS litigation. Also recently, individual states have litigated claims against manufacturers of PFAS-containing products.This contamination included the release of PFAS. The proposed settlement commits Solvay to:
- pay for and implement comprehensive remedial activities at and in the vicinity of its West Deptford facility;
- provide financial support for certain public water system upgrades necessary to remove PFAS from drinking water;
- further investigate and address certain PFAS impacts to public water systems and private potable drinking water wells in the vicinity; and
- compensate the public for natural resources injured by the discharge of hazardous substances.
Solvay must also post $214 million to guarantee New Jersey sufficient financial resources to complete the cleanup should Solvay fail to meet its ongoing remedial obligations. The agreement does not require Solvay to admit fault.
Additionally, in June 2023, the Arkansas attorney general filed a lawsuit in his own state against more than 30 companies, which he claims are responsible for spreading PFAS throughout the state.
Certainly, the individual, state-, and federal-level lawsuits will be ongoing and numerous.
PFAS regulation and litigation are continuously expanding to bring a more holistic approach to tackling the issues PFAS contamination potentially presents to the environment and human health. PFAS regulation and litigation traditionally focused on specific PFAS and individual chemical companies that manufactured and disposed of PFAS.
The efforts of EPA, U.S. lawmakers, consumer groups, and individuals have resulted in an increased focus on the study of PFAS and research into the impacts of PFAS on human health and the environment. Regulation and litigation have expanded to include not only manufacturers of PFAS but also companies, for example, that sell PFAS-containing industrial and consumer products. Looking forward, the trend of PFAS-related laws and lawsuits, which began at the turn of the century, will continue deep into the current decade and beyond. There are undoubtedly countless rulemakings, laws, and lawsuits on the horizon.