Reducing Environmental Risk

What business owners need to know about perfluorinated chemicals 

On Behalf of | Jul 3, 2024 | Environmental Due Diligence

Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) are a significant environmental and public health concern. These substances are utilized in a variety of industrial processes and consumer products because they are resistant to heat, water and oil. Both their release into the environment and the potential health risks that they pose risk liability challenges for property owners and businesses alike. 

PFCs are often referred to as “forever chemicals.” This nickname was inspired by the fact that they do not break down easily. Instead, they can accumulate in soil, water and living organisms, leading to long-term exposure risks. Health concerns associated with PFCs include cancer, liver damage, thyroid disease and reproductive issues. As such, property owners and businesses need to do what they can to understand their responsibilities related to PFCs, as well as their potential liability risks.

Regulatory concerns are evolving

The regulatory framework for PFCs is evolving rapidly. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and various state agencies are increasingly focusing on monitoring and regulating PFC levels in drinking water, soil, and air. Businesses and property owners need to stay informed about current and evolving regulations to better ensure compliance and avoid liability. Compliance with federal, state and local laws and regulations is non-negotiable, as non-compliance can lead to significant fines, legal action and remediation costs.

To mitigate potential liability, businesses and property owners should:

  • Conduct due diligence: Regularly perform environmental assessments and audits to identify and address PFC contamination risks
  • Implement informed best practices: Use safer alternatives to PFCs where possible and adopt best management practices to minimize the release of these chemicals
  • Stay informed: Remain up-to-date with regulatory changes and ensure compliance with federal, state, and local regulations 

Finally, as this area of law is both complex and consequential, those concerned about liability may benefit from seeking legal guidance proactively in order to better safeguard their interests.



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