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PFAS and PFOA Litigation and Regulation: An Emerging Insurance Coverage Battleground | The Legal Intelligencer – Law.com

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As PFAS litigation continues to spur throughout product supply chains, and as new regulations go into effect to mitigate environmental and health impacts of PFAS, policyholders will increasingly turn to insurance carriers to cover losses.
April 14, 2022 at 12:55 PM
8 minute read
Insurance Law
Litigation over PFAS in the United States has been headline inducing. As companies that manufacture PFAS or use PFAS in the manufacturing of other end products are strapped with extraordinarily large verdicts and settlements, many will need to turn to their insurance companies to access the insurance coverage they have purchased to protect their businesses. In addition to the currently occurring PFAS litigation, increased federal and state PFAS regulation will induce further disputes and recovery. What results is an emerging insurance coverage battleground over funding for PFAS liabilities and regulatory requirements.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). See Gluge et. al., An overview of the uses of PFAS, Envtl. Sci. Processes and Impacts, 2345, 2346 (2020). These types of chemicals are sometimes referred to as “forever chemicals” because their unique chemical structure makes it almost impossible for them to be eliminated from the environment. The chemicals are immune from natural degradation as well as heat, acids, chemical stimuli and oxidation. Because of this, PFAS persist in water sources, leading to bioaccumulation of the substances in humans and animals. See “Our Current Understanding of the Human Health and Environmental Risks of PFAS,” U.S. Envtl. Protection Agency, https://www.epa.gov/pfas/our-current-understanding-human-health-and-environmental-risks-pfas (last visited March 31). Studies have detailed the health impacts of PFAS exposure, including cancer, thyroid disease, pregnancy complications and high cholesterol.

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