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| 1 minute read

Anticipating the next wave of PFAS litigation

As the U.S. EPA moves forward with the latest steps to regulate PFAS in commerce, pressure from other forces over the use of PFAS in products are mounting.

Despite recent announcements that companies would eliminate PFAS chemicals in packaging over the next few years, consumers are turning to the courts over the use of PFAS in packaging. In a recent class action lawsuit, the plaintiff consumers alleged that a fast food company hid the use of PFAS from them, bringing statutory claims under consumer protection laws and other tort-related claims like unjust enrichment against the company.

Other plaintiffs filed similar consumer protection-related claims in the past few years targeting other industries allegedly utilizing PFAS in consumer products, including feminine products, makeup, and oral healthcare.

This represents a growing trend splitting out from prior (and still ongoing) legal battles, which focus primarily on the responsibility for environmental contamination and human exposure. Whether these consumer protection-related lawsuits eventually branch into other areas of law like product liability (and there is a small subset of case law on this topic already under litigation) remains to be seen. However, corporate EHS and ESG departments may want to track this developing area of liability, especially if the company’s products on the market are consumer goods.

EPA will also remove two PFAS first listed on the SCIL in 2012 under EPA’s Safer Choice program to better protect consumers and ensure that products certified under this program are free from PFAS.

Tags

esg, legal, environment, consumers

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