As EPA Rules Loom, Attorneys Prep for Tidal Wave of PFAS Litigation: Substance Remains Common Despite Alleged Dangers

A proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that would label per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) as hazardous is expected to increase transparency and accountability, but defense attorneys say it could also lead to a tidal wave of litigation.

“We’re going to see a lot more reporting requirements and companies being required to report releases of PFAS,” said Brian Moskal, a partner at the Greenberg Glusker law firm in Los Angeles. “Where there’s reporting, there’s litigation.”

Separately, the EPA issued a proposed rule setting enforceable PFAS standards for drinking water.

“Both of these were expected, but the acceleration of litigation over the last couple of years has been a little bit surprising,” Mr. Moskal said. “It’s just taken off.”

The Greenberg Glusker law firm represents electroplating companies that have received information requests from California regulators about their use of PFAS over the years.

Known as forever chemicals, PFAS are allegedly deadly manmade chemicals found in firefighting foam, firefighting gear, drinking water and consumer products such non-stick cookware and food packaging.

“Part of the problem is that these PFAS substances are so effective,” Mr. Moskal told PacerMonitor News. “They’re resistant to water, oil, heat, and so they’re really good at doing their job, and particularly when you talk about firefighting substances, they are good at putting out fires.”

Claims have been filed by states, municipalities, professional associations and individuals with some alleging environmental harm and seeking clean up compensation under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).