Can Product Labels Be Used to Predict the Presence of PFAS? A New Study Says “Likely” for Stain- and Water-Resistant Marketed Products; Less Likely for “Green” Marketed Products

“How Well Do Product Labels Indicate the Presence of PFAS in Consumer Items Used by Children and Adolescents?” is the name of a new study published last week by the American Chemical Society, in Environmental Science & Technology. Focusing on children’s’ products, the study’s abstract states that because “product labels rarely list chemical additives, including PFAS,” the authors “evaluated whether other information on product labels can be used by consumers to select products without PFAS.”

“The primary goal of this study was to investigate …

Continue Reading

Recommending Federal Discharge Standards for PFAS in Aquatic Life

Known as “forever” chemicals, many PFAS compounds are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world.  They also present at low levels in various food products and in the water, air, fish and soil in many areas. 

Many environmental advocates have called for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set enforceable federal discharge standards for PFAS under the Clean Water Act.  Currently, no such federal regulations exist.  Water utilities in various states have expressed concern that these types of regulations …

Continue Reading

Companies Face State Court Claims for Climate Damage After Circuit Courts Hold That Such Claims Are Not “Inherently Federal”

Federal appeals courts in Maryland and Colorado have sent lawsuits seeking to hold energy companies responsible for climate change back to state court even after the U.S. Supreme Court directed the Fourth Circuit to take a second look in the Maryland case.

In Maryland, the City of Baltimore seeks millions of dollars in damages for, among other things, energy companies’ alleged violations of the Maryland Consumer Protection Act that affected climate change. In Colorado, the City of Boulder and a couple of Colorado counties also …

Continue Reading

EPA Puts Ethanol Back in Play to Keep Gas Prices at Bay

On April 29, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officially suspended the ban on sales of gasoline blends with a higher concentration of ethanol. This suspension came two weeks after President Biden’s vow to lift the ban in order to counteract the increased gas prices attributed to Russia’s incursion into Ukraine. The suspension went into effect on May 1.

E15, or fuel with 15% ethanol, is traditionally banned during the warmer months—June through October—in an effort to combat the production of smog. In the current …

Continue Reading

There’s PFAS in my burger, my fries, my lipstick, and my underwear? How PFAS Litigation has become a game of Whack-A-Mole.

The world’s most recognizable food chains are under heightened scrutiny these days, not for the nutritional value of their products, but for their iconic food packaging. Just last month, a class action complaint filed in federal court in Illinois alleged a popular chain concealed from consumers the presence of PFAS in its food products.  Weeks later, a separate plaintiff sued yet another beloved fast food chain in federal court in California challenging the claim that it uses sustainable packaging and real ingredients. While the kings …

Continue Reading

A REVERSED REVERSAL OF NEPA RULES

Last week, through the Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) publication of a final rule at the close of phase one of a two-phase rulemaking process, the Biden administration began its efforts to reverse the prior administration’s reworking of the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Originally signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970, NEPA requires federal agencies to assess environmental, social, and economic impacts of any activities those agencies are seeking to undertake. The list of such actions is broad, but …

Continue Reading

What’s Required Under the SEC’s Proposed Climate-Related Disclosure Act

On Monday, March 21, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed a new rule aimed at requiring public companies to disclose extensive climate-related data to not only the federal government, but also their shareholders. More specifically, the proposed rule, entitled The Enhancements and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors, would amend the SEC’s rules under the Securities Act of 1933 and Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The proposed rule aims to provide investors a better understanding of the risks that climate change poses to companies.

Chair …

Continue Reading

Study Finds Microplastics in Human Lung Tissue

Less than one month after the release of a study showing the discovery of microplastics in human blood, reported by the Environmental Law Monitor here, scientists have discovered microplastics in the lungs of living individuals. The study, out of Hull York Medical School in England and published in Science of the Total Environment, found 39 microplastics in 11 of 13 lung tissue samples collected during thoracic surgical procedures on living patients. Samples were taken from upper, middle, and lower lobe specimens following surgical …

Continue Reading

Long Island Water Districts Settle Claims Arising from Alleged 1,4-Dioxane Contamination

You may have read about the slew of lawsuits filed over the past few years by Long Island water districts seeking to recover damages arising from alleged contamination of drinking water supplies by 1,4-dioxane. Our blog has covered them here, here, here, and here.

There is news on the settlement front. One of the primary defendants and the U.S. government have agreed to resolutions in two cases: Bethpage (in the amount of $49 million) and South Farmingdale (in the amount of …

Continue Reading

The Ethanol Waiver for E15 Is Not a Reason to Fill Up

Although ethanol is one of the earliest biotechnologies, it wasn’t until the energy crisis of the 1970s that ethanol was widely used as an additive to gasoline. Back then, concerns about the price of fuel and the impact of leaded gas on the environment led to a search for less expensive and more environmentally friendly alternatives. Ethanol seemed to fit both criteria. Today, approximately 90% of the gasoline sold in the United States contains ethanol—and this ethanol is largely produced from corn. Corn is used …

Continue Reading