Ubiquity and Uncertainty: Unusual Challenges of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Bring Unorthodox Approaches to Environmental Law
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There's a lot that we know PFAS: their unctuous chemistry, their nearly universal utility, their unbounded uses (until recently), and their ubiquitous prevalence in the environment and all living creatures, including humans.

But there's as much if not more that we don't know about PFAS, especially in terms of their largely unknown and uncertain toxicology, their ability to cause groundwater contamination through atmospheric deposition, and their other behavior in the environment and biological systems. Given their ubiquity and these myriad uncertainties, are scientists, regulators, and private practitioners approaching the challenges in novel or unorthodox ways or with new thinking? What's different this time about how society is coming to grips with this newest "contaminant of emerging concern"? Or is this just the usual approach with different chemical names? What will it take to provide the certainty necessary to enable more traditional problem-solving approaches and regulatory and statutory approaches to be deployed? What can PFAS teach us about how society should deal with substances that are showing up everywhere in everything, but about whose long-term health effects we have very little information? And how will this all end – in endless unnecessary costs and expenses, in an ugly and unsolvable mess, or in a unified regulatory approach across the 50 states and EPA?

Publication Summary

  • Geosyntec Authors: Rula Deeb, Travis Kline
  • All Authors: Rula Deeb, Travis Kline
  • Title: The American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL) 2020 Annual Meeting
  • Event or Publication: Event
  • Practice Areas: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)
  • Citation: Rula Deeb, Ph.D., BCEEM, PMP (California) and Travis Kline, MEM, BCES (District of Columbia) will participate in a panel discussion titled "Ubiquity and Uncertainty: Unusual Challenges of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Bring Unorthodox Approaches to Environmental Law" at the American College of Environmental Lawyers (ACOEL) 2020 Annual Meeting on September 17, 2020. Panelist presentations will be followed by a lively exchange of perspectives to identify viable solutions to challenges posed by the PFAS uncertainties.
  • Date: September 17, 2020
  • Publication Type: Panel Participation