Per-and Polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS (including PFOA and PFOS), as well as other “emerging contaminants,” have become a top priority for federal and state government environmental regulatory agencies. PFAS have been found in surface water, groundwater, air, fish and soil, as well as in many different consumer, commercial and industrial products, including, particularly, “aqueous film forming foam,” or AFFF, used in firefighting applications at airports, military installations and facilities with the risk of “Class B” fires. These widely used chemicals, often referred to as “forever chemicals,” contain harmful and potentially carcinogenic components that break down very slowly over time. Scientific studies have shown that exposure to some PFAS in the environment may be linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals.
PFAS regulation and PFAS contamination should be a concern to:
- Businesses with Class B Firefighting Systems
- Owners of properties where fires were managed or extinguished with AFFF
- Buyers and sellers of businesses
- Brownfield property owners
- Wastewater utilities
It is critical to be proactive in addressing the potential for PFAS contamination. Retaining experienced environmental legal counsel and technical counsel with expertise in PFAS matters is advised before undertaking any sort of investigation activities to assess PFAS contamination. In addition, any business or real property transaction should include environmental due diligence with an experienced legal and technical team, including if there is a known presence of a Class B firefighting system at the target company or on the real estate to be acquired.
Godfrey & Kahn’s Environmental Practice Group has broad, nationally recognized experience in counseling clients concerning PFAS and other emerging contaminants. Our attorneys represent clients with interests in numerous PFAS sites in Wisconsin and other states, including at disposal sites, manufacturing sites and locations where PFAS-containing aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) has been discharged. We are prepared to assist clients meet the challenges that PFAS present.
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