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PFAS Playbook

PFAS Playbook

  • Posts by Allyson Cunningham

    Ally Cunningham is a Partner, focusing on the areas of environmental, toxic tort and other crisis-related litigation. Ally’s national practice consists of trials, arbitrations, administrative proceedings, mediations and ...

On April 19, 2024, EPA issued its long-awaited Final Rule officially listing two key per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), or so-called “forever chemicals,” as “hazardous substances” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, also known as Superfund). The Final Rule designates the two most studied PFAS – perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) – as hazardous substances. The effects of the designation will be far-reaching and will extend beyond the broad authority that ...

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On April 10, in a move that is almost certain to result in legal challenges from states, utilities, and other entities charged with its implementation, EPA released its much-anticipated Final Rule limiting concentrations of certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), or so-called “forever chemicals,” in public drinking water. The Final Rule, which EPA issued pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), represents the first time the federal government has set enforceable standards for any PFAS in drinking water.

The Final Rule sets a legally enforceable maximum ...

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On March 27, 2024, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) concluded its review of EPA’s final rule establishing a national drinking water regulation to limit concentrations of certain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), or “forever chemicals,” in drinking water. When issued, this rule will be the first time the federal government has set enforceable standards for any PFAS in drinking water.

OMB reviews final rules before they are published to the public. The conclusion of OMB’s review marks a key milestone in the rulemaking process, which indicates ...

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In an Agricultural Business Council of Kansas City article titled "Digging Deeper - PFAS in Agriculture: What Agri-Business Sector Needs to Know about the Latest Emerging Contaminants," Lathrop GPM attorneys Ally Cunningham, Jessie Rosell, Matt Walker, and Shanna McCormack discuss the EPA's and USDA's proposed classifications and guidelines for PFAS. These changes can impact a variety of agricultural operations, from the management and application of biosolids and pesticides to federal aid payments received by dairy farmers for PFAS contamination, and updated drinking ...

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On May 18, 2022, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced that it has added five per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) compounds to its Regional Removal Management Levels (RMLs) and Regional Screening Levels (RSLs), a set of non-enforceable standards used to evaluate whether further action at a site is necessary. The RSLs and RMLs now include a total of six PFAS chemicals. The additions come as a part of EPA’s PFAS Roadmap launched in 2020. The PFAS Roadmap, developed by the EPA Council on PFAS, focuses around three central directives: (1) Research; (2 ...

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Earlier this month, the Wisconsin State Natural Resources Board (NRB) moved to regulate the two most widely studied PFAS compounds, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), in both drinking water and surface water within the state. Unlike some other states that have moved to adopt aggressive standards for groundwater such as Michigan, however, the Board declined to set limits on PFAS in groundwater. The Wisconsin Board’s decisions come in the context of broader federal PFAS regulation by the United States Environmental Protection Agency ...

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On November 16, EPA asked its Science Advisory Board (SAB) to review draft scientific documents re-evaluating EPA’s 2016 analysis of potential health effects of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). The review could lead to EPA lowering its existing drinking water health advisory levels and inform development of National Primary Drinking Water Regulations for the two compounds.

EPA sent four draft documents with recent scientific data and analyses to its SAB that indicate adverse health effects may occur at lower levels of exposure to PFOA ...

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Members of Congress are renewing legislative efforts to impose new limitations on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”). Announced by lawmakers from Michigan on April 13, the PFAS Action Act of 2021 would impose several significant restrictions upon the use, disposal, and clean-up of PFAS. Among other items, the Act would:

  1. Create nationwide drinking water standards for two of the most widely studied types of PFAS, PFOA and PFOS
  2. Require EPA to designate PFOA and PFOS as “hazardous substances” under CERCLA within one year, and determine whether to list all other PFAS ...
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United States Senator, Kristin Gillibrand (D-NY), along with other House and Senate Democrats, recently announced new legislation targeted at addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) contamination. The proposed PFAS Accountability Act, which has not yet been released, would establish a federal cause of action allowing individuals who have been exposed to PFAS to sue companies that manufacture or use the chemicals. Senator Gillibrand’s legislation will also provide legal pathways for federal courts to set up medical monitoring programs for ...

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For the first time ever, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently posted information about PFAS being present in personal care products such as lotions, nail polish, shaving cream, foundation and mascara. There is even some concern about PFAS contained in dental floss. While this is really not a new phenomenon – as a 2018 study conducted by the Environmental Working Group found that a number of beauty and skin care products contain Teflon – what is new is that the FDA is now taking steps to address it. Click here to read our recent client alert that discusses the research and ...

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2021 was already looking like a big regulatory year for PFAS – per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances used for decades in everything from nonstick cookware to stain-resistant fabrics. But 2020’s final weeks point to a particular focus when it comes to the so-called “forever chemicals” – as well as tricky questions related to PFAS remediation. 

PFAS efforts have gained traction for years across the country and continue to do so. More local governments will likely ask for PFAS information in permitting in the months and years ahead. Individual companies, meanwhile, must ...

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Private equity firms are itching to use up their dry powder and M&A activity is surging. But a different acronym should be atop dealmakers' minds going into 2021. 

Regulations about PFAS contamination — per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances used in products like nonstick cookware and waterproof or stain-resistant fabrics – is primed to increase under the Biden administration. Meanwhile, dealmakers targeting sites possibly contaminated years or even decades ago face a heating (and possibly narrowing) M&A window.

For buyers, it’s crucial to understand this moment and act ...

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More federal and state actions on PFAS in groundwater is likely under a Biden administration, but is also possible under another Trump administration. Companies facing potential liability should prepare for more regulation regardless of who wins the election. There are steps we suggest companies to take to prepare themselves, including: 

  • Stay plugged in on PFAS developments; 
  • Engage in formal lobbying;
  • Get your arms around any possible contamination and vulnerabilities; and 
  • Know the limits of insurance coverage from an insurance perspective and evaluate what entities around ...
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Legal tensions surrounding PFAS in food have intensified in recent years, and they are likely to become more heated. We suggest that there are four steps companies can proactively take to enhance customer safety and limit possible damages related to PFAS litigation, including:

  • Determine the source of the PFAS
  • Determine how the liability - and risk - could be spread
  • Know that civil liability often comes with regulatory liability
  • Make sure your records are good

To read more, view the full article in Food Safety Magazine, here.

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About this Blog

Lathrop GPM has deep experience developing regulatory strategy and defending litigation in the area of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and we have been involved in some of the nation’s most-publicized cases. The PFAS Playbook blog is dedicated to helping readers stay up to date and understand the latest regulatory updates on PFAS. 



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