Increased litigation alleging exposure to per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) present potential significant losses for companies in a wide range of industries. PFAS are a group of chemicals commonly used in consumer products and manufacturing applications. After health studies linked PFAS exposure to adverse health impacts, there has been increased regulatory attention and significant litigation. The risks from this litigation to companies that manufactured or sold PFAS-containing products is manifest. And with that increased litigation risk, so too, the need to secure insurance coverage has grown. As is often the case, the ability to secure coverage for PFAS-related claims will depend on the specific facts and language of the policies at issue. Through this post, we identify several of the coverage issues associated with these claims.
What are PFAS?
PFAS are chemicals commonly used in manufacturing, industrial and consumer products such as food packaging, nonstick cook-wear, and cosmetics. PFAS have been used since the 1940s and are commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” due to how long they take to degrade naturally. Because of their popularity, PFAS are found virtually everywhere, including in drinking water, household products, personal care products, and soil and groundwater near waste sites. And because they are slow to break down, PFAS can build up in people and the environment over time. According to the EPA, research suggests that exposure to certain PFAS may lead to adverse health outcomes. See Our Current Understanding of the Human Health and Environmental Risks of PFAS. Continue Reading Insurance coverage implications for PFAS-related liabilities