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Lawyers to plastics makers: prepare for ‘astronomical’ PFAS lawsuits

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The New York Times or enjoy below:

🗞️ Driving the news: Lawyers are warning plastics industry executives to brace for a wave of lawsuits over PFAS chemicals that could surpass the scale of asbestos litigation
• PFAS, used in numerous products for decades, have been linked to severe health issues
• The federal government has recently mandated the removal of certain PFAS from drinking water, amplifying legal pressures

🔭 The context: PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are synthetic chemicals prevalent in many everyday items and known for their persistence in the environment and human body
• Companies like 3M and DuPont face increasing litigation and have already paid significant settlements for PFAS contamination. Legal experts predict a surge in lawsuits as more evidence emerges on the health impacts of PFAS

🌍 Why it matters for the planet: PFAS contamination poses a significant environmental and public health challenge, highlighting the urgent need for better chemical regulation and pollution control
• The long-lasting nature of PFAS underscores the persistent risk to ecosystems and human health, necessitating comprehensive cleanup efforts

⏭️ What's next: New regulations and lawsuits are expected to drive extensive legal battles and substantial financial liabilities for companies involved with PFAS
• This could also prompt stricter regulatory measures and more rigorous testing and cleanup of contaminated sites across the U.S.

💬 One quote: "To say that the floodgates are opening is an understatement," said Emily M. Lamond, an environmental litigation attorney, referring to the anticipated surge in PFAS-related lawsuits

📈 One stat: Last year, 3M agreed to pay at least $10 billion to water utilities for PFAS cleanup costs

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