News Feature | June 7, 2023

States Suing PFAS Manufacturers Over Contamination, 'Campaign To Knowingly Deceive The Public'

Peter Chawaga - editor

By Peter Chawaga


Attorneys general representing a range of states are now suing the manufacturers of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) over the harm that these chemicals have caused their residents and environments, including the health effects that have resulted from consuming the contaminants via drinking water.

“We are still uncovering the consequences of exposure to these hazardous chemicals by Rhode Islanders, but the burden of this enormous cost should be borne by the companies who made, marketed, and sold these products,” said Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha, who blamed the companies for “a massive and widespread campaign to knowingly deceive the public,” according to the Associated Press.

Revelations about just how pervasive PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” are throughout the environment are frequent, and their consumption through drinking water has been tied to serious health consequences. As federal officials work to institute strict limits on PFAS in drinking water and wastewater, law officials on the state level are eager to take actions of their own.

At issue in particular seems to be whether or not PFAS manufacturers intentionally hid the potential harm these contaminants could do.

“The [Washington State] attorney general’s office has filed a lawsuit against nearly two dozen manufacturers of so-called ‘forever chemicals,’ asserting the companies knew about their risks to the environment and humans for decades but lied and kept that knowledge hidden from the government and public to protect their businesses,” according to The Seattle Times. “It alleges companies including 3M, DuPont and 18 others violated state laws … The complaint asks the court to order the companies to pay the cost to clean up PFAS contamination.”

In her newly launched legal battle, Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes has underscored the damage these alleged cover ups have done to drinking water in particular.

“These companies have known for decades that so-called ‘forever chemicals’ would contaminate water supplies for generations to come but chose to sell their products anyway,” she said, per Arizona’s Family. “The failure by these polluters to inform the state about the risks associated with these chemicals has harmed our environment and the health of Arizonans — and they must be held accountable.”

As these lawsuits unfold, drinking water and wastewater treatment operations will want to keep eyes on any PFAS cleanup efforts these manufacturers may be forced to undertake.

For more information about how legal actions can impact the presence of drinking water or wastewater contaminants, visit Water Online’s Regulations And Legislation Solutions Center.