Type: News
Date: 04/10/2024

U.S. Takes Historic Step Forward To Protect American Drinking Water From Toxic PFAS “Forever Chemicals”

On April 10, 2024, the U.S. EPA released its federally enforceable drinking water limits for certain toxic PFAS “forever chemicals” under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Taft partner, author, and advocate Rob Bilott stated, “today, we can celebrate a huge victory for public health in this country. The U.S. EPA is moving forward to protect drinking water across the United States by adopting federally enforceable limits on some of the most toxic, persistent, and bioaccumulative chemicals ever found in our nation’s drinking water supply.”

Bilott added, “Today’s action by the EPA is the culmination of decades of work to raise awareness of the global threat to human health and the environment presented by these man-made ‘forever chemicals.’ Today, we can celebrate that the scientific facts and truth about the dangers posed by these toxins have finally prevailed over the decades of corporate cover-ups and misinformation campaigns designed to mislead and to delay action to protect public health.”

According to Bilott, “I first alerted the U.S. EPA and our federal government to the presence of PFAS in U.S. drinking water supplies and asked that immediate steps be taken to address the problem in a letter dated March 6, 2001 – more than 23 years ago. It should never have taken this long to address such serious threats to public health and our environment. But the PFAS story has helped highlight the critical importance of making sure that complete scientific information is promptly disclosed and made available to our regulatory authorities, lawmakers, the scientific community, and the public, and not manipulated and distorted by those hoping to profit from hiding the truth.”

Taft and Bilott currently represent states, water providers, and others all across the country who have been damaged by PFAS contamination, and serve as plaintiffs’ Advisory Counsel in multi-district litigation pending in South Carolina federal court where thousands of cases have been consolidated dealing with harm attributable to PFAS in certain firefighting foams, and where over $13 billion in settlements with 3M and DuPont-related companies have been approved for U.S. public drinking water providers.

With regard to that litigation, Bilott stated, “We have worked for many years to make sure that the companies actually responsible for contaminating our country’s drinking water with PFAS are held responsible for the costs to address that contamination – not the victims. Now that our litigation has secured the largest drinking water settlements in U.S. history that will make billions of dollars available to our nation’s drinking water providers to address the PFAS problem, it is critically important that we allow implementation of those settlements to move forward without delay.”

In 2017, Bilott received the Right Livelihood Award (known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”) for his decades of work uncovering the threat posed by PFAS “forever chemicals.” This work is detailed in Bilott’s book, Exposure: Poisoned Water, Corporate Greed, and One Lawyer’s Twenty-Year Battle Against DuPont, which story formed the basis of the 2019 film, Dark Waters (starring Mark Ruffalo as Bilott), and was featured in the 2018 documentary, The Devil We Know, the 2023 documentary, Burned: Protecting the Protectors, and the upcoming new Australian documentary, Revealed: How To Poison A Planet. Bilott is also a lecturer at the Yale School of Public Health and serves on the boards of Less Cancer and Green Umbrella.

Taft’s deep bench of experienced PFAS practitioners advise clients on a wide array of issues across industrial sectors. These matters range from advising businesses regarding PFAS in packaging and products, representing and advising landfills, wastewater treatment facilities, airports, governmental entities, and drinking water utilities in civil and regulatory actions, investigating and remediating PFAS impacts (including at closed CERCLA and RCRA sites), addressing PFAS liability considerations in business transactions, and prosecuting PFAS claims. Taft attorneys regularly contribute to the PFAS Insights blog, providing insight and analysis on important PFAS news and developments. Learn more about Taft’s PFAS work here.

In This Article

You May Also Like