School’s Out for Summer, but EPA’s Latest PFAS Drinking Water Health Advisory Order is No Vacation for the Regulated Industry or Litigants

If you drink water, pay a water bill, or watch the news, you’ve undoubtedly heard or seen (but were likely unable to pronounce) the acronyms for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), two of the most recognized compounds within the family of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

Known as PFAS compounds, they were used pervasively in American manufacturing dating back to the 1940s and assumed the nomenclature “forever chemicals” because of their remarkable and arguably useful ability to not decompose. PFAS’ unique resistance to breaking …

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Plaintiffs in PFAS Food-Packaging Case Met With Motion to Dismiss

A few weeks ago, our blog reported on a number of complaints filed against some of the most recognizable fast food chains, arising from alleged PFAS-containing food wrappers. The alleged concern is that PFAS contained in the wrapper, for example, will migrate into the food itself, creating exposure through consumption of the food. Now, a fast-food chain named in one of the suits is hitting back. A few days ago, the chain filed a motion to dismiss the proposed class action, proffering a number of …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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Do Your Plastic Bottles Leach PFAS?

On March 16, 2022, the U.S. EPA Press Office issued a news release about implementing two key actions to prevent exposure from products with PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl).

The first action involves notification about fluorinated bottles; the second calls for the removal of two PFAS from the EPA’s Safer Chemicals Ingredients List. These two actions are consistent with the deadlines set in the “PFAS Strategic Roadmap; the EPA’s Commitment to Action 2021-2024”. The so-called roadmap—issued by the EPA in October 2021—is a relatively short (25 …

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Motion for Class Certification in Hardwick PFAS Litigation Granted in Part, Denied in Part

As previously reported by our blog, Kevin Hardwick, a firefighter and alleged user of PFAS-containing firefighting foams, filed a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in 2018, asserting claims for negligence, battery, declaratory judgment, and conspiracy—all related to the manufacture and use of PFAS products. What is notable about the suit was that it asked for equitable relief in the form of a panel of scientists to study the effects of PFAS and for medical monitoring of …

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EPA Adds Four PFAS to Toxics Release Inventory as Part of the PFAS Roadmap

As our blog recently reported, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an ambitious national strategy to address per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) over the next three years. Dubbed a “roadmap,” the EPA says that it is centered on three guiding strategies focused on research, restrictions, and remediation: “Increase investments in research, leverage authorities to take action now to restrict PFAS chemicals from being released into the environment, and accelerate the cleanup of PFAS contamination.” As part of this plan, the EPA announced the automatic …

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EPA Finalizes Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule, Focusing on PFAS

On December 20, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized the Fifth Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 5) to establish nationwide monitoring for 29 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and lithium in drinking water. Distilled to its essence, the new rule requires certain public water systems to collect data for 29 PFAS, as well as lithium, over a five-year period, with preliminary preparations beginning in 2022. According to the summary of the rule, published by the EPA, UCMR 5 “will provide new data critically needed …

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EPA Releases PFAS Roadmap, Outlining Various Initiatives, Strategy, and Expected Rulemaking

After releasing a flurry of press releases and developments on PFAS regulation, on October 18, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s administrator announced an ambitious national strategy to address PFAS over the next three years. Dubbed a “roadmap,” the EPA says that it is centered on three guiding strategies focused on research, restrictions, and remediation: “Increase investments in research, leverage authorities to take action now to restrict PFAS chemicals from being released into the environment, and accelerate the cleanup of PFAS contamination.” North Carolina’s governor …

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