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PFAS & Emerging Compounds


Parker Poe’s environmental attorneys have deep experience navigating the complex legal and technical issues presented by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other emerging compounds such as 1,4-dioxane and microplastics. As regulatory scrutiny and consumer concerns over PFAS continue to grow across the United States and internationally, Parker Poe has represented a diverse range of clients on their PFAS-related legal needs. Our clients include specialty chemical manufacturers and sellers, dyeing and finishing operations, flooring companies, forest products and textile companies, and waste services companies.

PFAS are a group of fluorinated chemicals that have been used in consumer, commercial, and industrial products over time due to their resistance to heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. In recent years, PFAS, including perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), have attracted significant regulatory, legal, and media attention. Many manufacturing and commercial businesses now face questions, demands, and in some cases litigation regarding the use of PFAS-containing products. Manufacturers and users of PFAS find themselves increasingly scrutinized by regulatory agencies and drawn into civil court by state attorneys general, public water providers, and personal injury plaintiffs, among others.

Parker Poe has extensive experience counseling clients on the emerging landscape of PFAS compliance, including negotiating with government agencies and complying with developing regulations. We also have advised on a variety of transactions that involve negotiations regarding PFAS and other emerging compounds. In addition, we are on the cutting edge of helping clients navigate PFAS litigation, including national class action and multidistrict litigation (MDL) defense.

Representative Experience

  • Represent two specialty chemical clients in an MDL pending in federal court involving PFAS in aqueous film forming foam. The MDL involves lawsuits throughout the United States, stretching from the Carolinas to California, and from Florida to Alaska. At present, we are defending over 10,000 separate water provider and personal injury lawsuits. We also represent these clients in non-litigation agency and attorneys general inquiries and regulatory matters regarding PFAS.
  • Defeated a nearly 12-million-person class certification involving PFAS claims against a foreign-owned chemical manufacturer. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit vacated the lower court's approval of the class action, holding that the plaintiff lacked standing to assert the alleged claims against our client and nine other companies.
  • Assisted several international clients in navigating agency regulation of PFAS in the United States and understanding their PFAS risk profiles within the country.   
  • Represent a dyeing and finishing company in carpet manufacturing industry PFAS litigation in Alabama and Georgia, in addition to general PFAS compliance. This work has included getting lawsuits by two Alabama cities dismissed, as well as settling a proposed water class action and a lawsuit by a Georgia city on favorable terms for the client.
  • Represented forest products and other companies as they evaluate their products and inventories for potential PFAS presence.
  • Assisted a floor finishing manufacturer and other consumer products companies in navigating state-specific PFAS reporting obligations, including in California and Maine.
  • Represented a waste services company during an investigation into potential PFAS in landfill leachate and other PFAS inquiries.
  • Assisted clients in regulatory agency negotiations and compliance with emerging regulations, including drinking water limits and Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reporting requirements.
  • Counseled clients on the use of alternative products and potential PFAS remediation strategies.
  • Assisted corporate clients in folding PFAS-related protections into purchase and sale agreements and other transactional documents. We also negotiate with state agencies to address PFAS issues in Brownfields agreements and state-supervised remediation.
  • Represented a municipality seeking an interbasin transfer certificate. The state agency is focusing on PFAS issues in each basin involved in the interbasin transfer.
  • Represented clients as they navigate 1,4-dioxane limits that are being proposed by municipalities and state agencies.
  • Advised an international specialty chemical company on the purchase of a U.S. facility at which regulation and reduction of 1,4-dioxane are critical to the transaction and future operations.

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