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Goldberg Segalla Attorneys Analyze PFAS Trends in ABA’s The Brief


Goldberg Segalla Attorneys Analyze PFAS Trends in ABA’s The Brief

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as forever chemicals, are compounds found in many products from food packaging to construction materials. As scientific evidence grows to show exposure to PFAS, such as through drinking water, can have a negative impact on human health, so has litigation and regulation around the compounds.

Goldberg Segalla partners John F. Parker and Oliver E. Twaddell, in the firm’s Environmental Law practice, co-authored an article for the American Bar Association’s The Brief that gives an overview of the history of PFAS litigation and regulation, as well as emerging trends.

John and Oliver explore the origins of PFAS regulations by examining guidance put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act. Guidance has grown under these policies as new rules have been implemented, such as the banning of certain imports unless the EPA provides approval.

Attempts to regulate PFAS have also been conducted by Congress. Some have been successful, such as the National Defense Authorization Act which “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, and other available information.”

The authors also review state-level regulations of PFAS, which include water drinking regulations in states such as New York and Vermont, and consumer product regulations in California and Maryland.

“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,” they explained. “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.”

John and Oliver said the future of PFAS litigation has evolved into drinking-water litigation, food-packaging litigation, cosmetic-products litigation, and more.

“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,” they said. “There are undoubtedly countless rulemakings, laws, and lawsuits on the horizon.”


READ THE FULL ARTICLE:A Survey of Trends in PFAS Regulation and Litigation,” The Brief, December 20, 2023 [Subscription Required]


Goldberg Segalla’s environmental lawyers’ number one priority is to provide sound, strategic solutions to the problems and challenges our clients face. Our practice encompasses the full spectrum of federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations and their impact on real estate, business and lending transactions, and business operations. With extensive experience helping clients navigate the complexities of environmental laws and regulations at every level, Goldberg Segalla’s attorneys balance your business’s environmental responsibilities with the expectations you set and the goals you aim to achieve.