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A Brief History of PFAS Litigation

Readers of this blog may be interested in a new article from Water Finance & Management, A Legal History of PFAS. The article highlights the early discovery of certain PFAS, their toxicity and persistence, how the dangers of PFAS were exposed, and chronicles the early litigation and regulation, and the current state of PFAS litigation. The first lawsuit involving PFAS contamination (specifically PFOA) was filed in 1999 by a farmer in West Virginia against DuPont. Since then, exposure to PFAS chemicals, primarily through contaminated drinking water, has become a significant threat to public health and the environment, and twenty years of litigation by states, territories, water providers, and individuals has followed. Regulators, lawmakers, and state attorneys general continue to explore options to protect the public and the environment, and drinking water providers continue to face the burden of treating, monitoring, and upgrading infrastructure to remove the harmful PFAS chemicals. The author concludes that litigation will continue as sovereigns and municipalities file lawsuits to hold the polluters and manufacturers, not the public, accountable and to bear the burden of the costs associated with these “forever chemicals.”

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