Litigants and regulators across the country are increasingly turning their attention to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These ubiquitous emerging contaminants come from a wide variety of sources and have been used in myriad ways in the U.S. and globally for decades. Thus far, litigation and regulation have tended to focus on certain common PFAS compounds—such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA)—but that focus is expanding.
While many chemicals are considered emerging contaminants, there are features unique to PFAS that have caused them to generate more attention than other emerging contaminants, including:
PFAS have excellent surfactant capabilities and repel both water and oil. This trait is why they are found in high-production volumes for a variety of industrial and consumer applications, including: