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“Forever chemicals:” a PFAS regulatory update with Jean Mosites [Podcast]

Babst Calland Environmental Attorney and Shareholder Jean Mosites on business uncertainties created by federal and state regulations as they push to rid air, water and common consumer products of PFAS.

We all use them: consumer electronics, textiles, paper packaging, nonstick cookware, chrome plating, paints, varnishes and stain repellents for carpeting and upholstery. However, such products — and the manufacturing processes used to make them — have incorporated per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, manufactured chemicals that have been associated with various health and environmental impacts.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and many state regulatory agencies are actively pursuing restrictive regulations to significantly reduce the most common PFAS compounds that may be present in water, air, soil and many products, in an effort to mitigate any health-related risks that may come with them.

According to Jean Mosites, a shareholder with Pittsburgh law firm Babst Calland and a co-chair of the firm’s environmental practice group, businesses and industries are facing regulatory uncertainty, high costs of mitigation and the potential for class-action litigation amidst increasing public awareness.

Mosites spoke on the uncertainties facing business and industry as federal and state governments try to address the issues of PFAS from a variety of angles.

“They’re not consistent at this point,” she said of the regulatory agencies’ efforts. “They’ve really been gathering their data and analysis needed to develop regulation for the past 10 years, and this process started with trying to figure out where these chemicals exist. As they realized [the PFAS] are in drinking water — something that we’re all exposed to — they’re trying to figure out what the problem is and what the health impacts are,” said Mosites.

Mosites doesn’t argue with the premise behind the ramped-up regulatory efforts to reduce PFAS.

“They are known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they are really persistent; they don’t degrade,” she said. “So, when they get into the environment, they stay there.” It is the breadth and cost, however, that presents practical limits to implementation of a multi-faceted regulatory approach with more stringent standards for PFAS than many known hazardous substances..... 

Please listen to the Podcast below for more:

© Copyright Babst, Calland, Clements and Zomnir, P.C.National Law Review, Volume XIII, Number 151

About this Author

Jean Mosites Environmental Law Babst Calland

Jean Mosites is a shareholder in the Environmental, Energy and Natural Resources, and the Public Sector groups of Babst Calland. She currently serves as co-chair of the Environmental Group. Her practice includes client counseling on environmental compliance in the energy sector, resolving liabilities under federal and state remediation programs, as well as administrative appeals and environmental litigation in state and federal courts. Ms. Mosites represents clients in the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court’s original jurisdiction, challenging agency action that departs from the requirements...