Is Litigation leading To New Research in the Field of PFAS: An Overview

There are a lot of things in life that people take for granted. One of them is access to clean, safe drinking water. Unfortunately, many people across the United States do not have access to clean drinking water. One of the priorities of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Biden Administration is to regulate the looming problem of PFAS, which stands for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. This is a large group of chemicals that accumulate in the environment instead of breaking down spontaneously. These chemicals are commonly found in drinking water sources, our food sources, and even the air.

There are numerous reasons why this specific chemical can be dangerous; however, one of the biggest issues is that PFAS can lead to cancer. A few decades ago, the EPA started to investigate these substances for the first time. Throughout the years, a lot of information has been uncovered showing that these chemicals are incredibly harmful to the health of human beings. Now, there is a comprehensive regulatory scheme being developed to address this growing issue. It might even be possible for the courts to step in and do something about this problem.

Importantly, PFAS are not the first chemicals to lead to a flurry of lawsuits. These lawsuits fall under a category called “toxic torts.” While these lawsuits do not come on the heels of changes in government regulations or academic research papers, the litigation itself has led to new findings that could spawn research. In essence, litigation is leading to new research instead of the other way around.

Now, the companies that are responsible for introducing these chemicals into our water supply are under fire. It is incumbent on them to do something about it, or, they could find themselves in court facing a flurry of lawsuits. It will be interesting to see if plaintiffs have the ability to force these companies to change their actions. Hopefully, something will be done about them sooner rather than later. The health of the country depends on it because everyone deserves to have access to clean drinking water, and plaintiffs could be the ones driving the changes this country deserves.