EPA Makes Important Announcement, Ushering in the Next Era of Mass Tort and Environmental Litigation: “Forever Chemicals” Will Now Be Subject to Regulation

As new litigation related to “forever chemicals” continues to arise, AGG Litigation attorneys David Marmins and Morgan Harrison authored an article for the Journal of Emerging Risk in Litigation offering insight on plans from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to finalize a key regulation by the end of 2023.

On March 14, 2023, the EPA announced its proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for six per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as “PFAS” or “Forever Chemicals,” and the agency says the final rule will save thousands of lives and reduces tens of thousands of serious illnesses.

“The EPA has been aware of PFAS since at least the 1990s, when one farmer’s investigation into the chemicals concluded with a seminal lawsuit against multinational chemical company DuPont,” said David and Morgan. “Today, PFAS claims are widely recognized as the next frontier of mass tort and environmental litigation. With the EPA poised to finally enact the first regulation of these chemicals, that frontier is ripe for exploration.”

While new regulations on PFAS will present legal challenges for manufacturers and others that may be potentially held liable for its damages, forever chemicals have been a source of litigation for some time and have led to massive claim amounts, such as a March 2023 case that reached a $54 million settlement. David and Morgan detailed some of the arguments defendants have made to date in these suits, and also suggested that future litigation could present greater challenges to these arguments as plaintiffs could be armed with the EPA’s new drinking standard once the proposed regulation is finalized.

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