PFAS are man-made chemicals that have been used for decades in industrial settings and in the production of household products such as nonstick pans and waterproof clothing. PFAS, including PFOA, are known as “forever chemicals” because they do not readily biodegrade in the environment, often ending up in the soil and water systems, and in turn, in people. They are known to cause various types of cancer such as kidney and testicular, liver damage, preeclampsia, and fertility issues.
Aqueous film-forming foam, or AFFF, is a type of firefighting foam commonly used to extinguish fires involving flammable liquids, such as gasoline, oil, and jet fuel. AFFF also contains PFAS.
PFAS have been found in drinking water supplies near military bases and airports where AFFFs are commonly used, and there are ongoing efforts to clean up and mitigate the environmental damage caused by these chemicals.
On March 14, 2023, the EPA proposed its National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for 6 PFAS chemicals, marking the first time PFAS chemicals will be regulated in the United States. The NPDWR would establish nationwide, legally enforceable drinking water MCLs, or maximum contaminant levels. The specific PFAS compounds covered by the proposed legislation include:
This regulation should be finalized by the end of 2023, after which public water systems will have to conduct regular PFAS testing to monitor for these contaminants. If their water contains more than the new allowable levels of PFAS, they will have to make very expensive improvements to their water treatment facilities in order to properly remediate. Pursuing PFAS litigation can ensure that manufacturers responsible for this contamination, and not taxpayers, will foot the bill for keeping our drinking water safe.