PFAS Contamination Cost Recovery
By: Michelle Greene, Associate, Napoli Shkolnik Law, Sam Wade, Water Consultant, Napoli Shkolnik Law
PFAS, short for per- or polyfluoroalkyl substances, are part of a group of man-made perfluorinated chemicals have been manufactured and used in various products since the 1940s. They were most notably in DuPont's nonstick Teflon pans and other common industrial and household products including microwave popcorn bags, water-repellent fabrics, and firefighting foams. The issue of these "emerging contaminants" in drinking water, particularly from the military's use of firefighting foam, or Aqueous Film Forming Foam ("AFFF") has made headlines over the past few years. Although AFFF has not been used in recent years, it continues to effect water providers today.
PFAS' toxicity and persistence in the environment create a health and environmental hazard, endangering public health at low levels of exposure resulting in developmental effects to fetuses, kidney damage, cancer, and other illnesses. Exposure to PFAS could occur through public water systems and drinking water wells amongst other avenues, and it is why a water provider in the United States can no longer assume their drinking water is free from AFFF contamination. Luckily, water providers across the country have increasingly begun to take steps to address these toxic chemicals.
The MDL National Rural Water and Napoli Shkolnik PLLC
In 2018, the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation ("MDL") ordered all AFFF cases to be consolidated before Judge Richard Gergel of the District of South Carolina, where Paul J. Napoli from Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, was appointed as Plaintiffs' Co-Lead Counsel. In Re: Aqueous Film-Forming Foams Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 2:18-mn-2873-RMG). This MDL was filed against a variety of manufacturers of AFFF based on allegations that the product
harmed humans and contaminated groundwater.