PFAS continues to be an area of focus for EPA and state agencies, as well as an ever-increasing litigation risk for companies that have manufactured, imported, processed, or otherwise used products including chemicals belonging to this sizable class of synthetic compounds.
Both EPA’s unified agenda and the Biden Plan to Secure Environmental Justice and Equitable Economic Opportunity indicate that 2021 will be a busy year on the PFAS rulemaking front, as EPA plans to proceed with the establishment of maximum contaminant levels and hazardous substance designations for PFOA and PFOS, the two most studied PFAS chemicals.
Now more than ever, businesses with past or present operations involving PFAS are encouraged to take proactive steps to mitigate potential liabilities associated with these chemicals.

This article provides an overview of the status of PFAS regulation in the United States. Given the ubiquity of PFAS in commercial products, the expectation is that the United States’ regulation of PFAS and liability risks associated with PFAS will be of interest to a wide array of Japanese businesses, including specialty chemical companies, industrial manufacturers, oil and gas operations, and trading companies. This article briefly describes PFAS, the types of products that include it, the recent wave of litigation involving PFAS contamination, which has involved settlements approaching $1B, and developments in the federal and state regulation of these tenacious chemicals. We then discuss some specific scenarios in which these developments may affect Japanese corporations. The article ends with the recommendation that businesses that manufacture, distribute, use or dispose of PFAS or products containing PFAS should stay abreast of these developments and develop proactive strategies to minimize their potential liability.

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