On June 15, 2022, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued drinking water health advisories for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The advisories relate to Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) and Perfluorooctane Sulfinate (PFOS).

“In essence, what EPA is saying is that these chemicals are dangerous at any concentration,” said Pensacola Attorney Ned McWilliams, of Levin Papantonio Rafferty (LPR) law firm.

LPR is currently representing water providers and water companies that have discovered these chemicals in their water and are seeking compensation from the chemicals’ manufacturers for costs associated with cleanup. The firm is also representing individuals who have developed cancer as a result of exposure to these chemicals.

What the EPA Health Advisories Mean

EPA acknowledged that the advisories come after considering “newly available science.” In the agency’s efforts to protect public health, it issues such advisories to inform people of levels of water contamination below which adverse health effects are not expected to occur. In turn, federal, state, and local officials use the information to identify opportunities for needed monitoring plans, treatment solutions, and policies that will keep the public safe from lifetime exposure to PFAS.

Updated PFOA and PFOS Drinking Water Advisories

Specifically, EPA’s health advisories caution that people can suffer negative health effects from PFOA or PFOS concentrations in water that are close to zero—levels so minute that EPA cannot even detect them.

Despite the fact that U.S. manufacturers voluntarily phased out most uses of PFOA and PFOS, some applications of the chemicals continue. To make matters worse, PFAS do not degrade (hence their nickname, “forever chemicals”), so all the previous uses of the chemicals remain in the environment.

Legal Steps to Hold PFAS Manufacturers Accountable for Contaminated Water

LPR is working with public and private utility companies toward the recovery of the staggering costs involved in removing PFAS from their water supplies. Few options exist for removing PFAS contamination from water supplies. Those that do exist are costly. Start-up costs for setting up the equipment and beginning filtration can exceed $1 million. Ongoing expenses easily run six figures, annually.

Companies like DuPont and 3M have made a lot of money from the sale of PFAS. Sales of the chemicals for textile water and stain repellants alone represent $1 billion in annual revenue for these companies. Another $100 million per year comes from sales of PFAS for emulsifiers for lubricants, spray-on coatings, paints, and polishes.

“We look forward to holding the companies who made these chemicals accountable for the massive cost required to remove them from our environment,” McWilliams said.

Other Manufacturing Uses for PFAS

PFAS also serve as an ingredient in the manufacturing of many other types of products, including:

  1. Flame retardants and extinguishing foams
  2. Ink
  3. Pesticides
  4. Hydraulic fluids for the auto and aerospace industries
  5. Medical devices
  6. Components of color copiers and printers
  7. Metal plating (such as chrome)
  8. Coating for non-stick cookware
  9. Food packaging

PFAS are pervasive. Environmental Working Group published a 2017 report revealing PFAS contamination in water supplies in 27 states throughout the U.S., potentially harming 15 million Americans. The chemicals have also been detected in the blood of just about every human, as well as in domestic animals, and wildlife.

How Do PFAS Affect Human Health?

As a recognized human carcinogen, PFAS can cause multiple forms of cancer and other diseases, including:

  1. Testicular Cancer
  2. Kidney Cancer
  3. Liver Cancer
  4. Prostate Cancer
  5. Ulcerative Colitis

About Levin, Papantonio, Rafferty

The Levin, Papantonio, Rafferty law firm has been representing injured people across the globe since 1955. The firm has gained national recognition as one of the most successful personal injury firms in the world and has been featured on CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox, as well as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Time Magazine, Forbes, and National Law Journal.

LPR started handling environmental cases in 1955. Today, the firm is recognized as a national leader in these types of lawsuits, having received over 150 jury verdicts for $1 million or more, and winning jury verdicts and settlements in excess of $30 billion.

The law firm’s environmental achievements include:

In 1998, LPR Attorney Mike Papantonio established a Riverkeepers program in Northwest Florida known as the Emerald Coastkeepers, Inc., a full-time organization that serves the community as a public advocate for its waterways.

In 2001, LPR filed a lawsuit against Agrico and Conoco for polluting a waterway in Pensacola, Florida, and causing extensive property damage. The case resulted in a $70 million settlement.

In 2007, LPR received a $380-million jury verdict for residents in a West Virginia community whose property was contaminated by pollutants discharged from a DuPont plant. As a result of our efforts, the law firm’s environmental team was chosen as a finalist for the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award presented by the Public Justice Foundation.

In 2011, LPR was chosen by a federal judge in Louisiana to serve as one of only four law firms in the country to head up the federal litigation relating to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which was the largest accidental oil spill in U.S. history.

In 2017, LPR reached a $670 million settlement with DuPont to compensate 3,500 individuals injured by the chemical C8, which had been discharged into the Ohio River.

Levin Papantonio Rafferty attorneys handle lawsuits throughout the country involving prescription drugs, medical devices, medical malpractice, car accidents, and business litigation. Levin Papantonio Rafferty has earned more than $30 billion in jury verdicts and settlements, litigating against some of the largest corporations in the world.

For questions about the firm’s legal practice, call 1 (800) 277-1193.