Arizona sues alleged “forever chemicals” manufacturers

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June 1, 2023Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes has launched a lawsuitOpens in a new tab. against companies accused of manufacturing products containing per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), aka “forever chemicals”. The major defendants include well-known brands such as 3M and DuPont.

What are “Forever Chemicals”?

“Forever chemicals” is a layman’s term for PFAS substances. PFAS, being exceptionally resistant to degradation, contaminate our water supplies and the environment persistently.

“Forever chemicals,” are used in a wide range of consumer and industrial products due to their unique properties, including resistance to heat, water, and oil. Here are some examples of products that may contain PFAS:

Consumer Products.

  1. Non-Stick Cookware: PFAS are used in creating non-stick surfaces on pots, pans, and other cookware.
  2. Stain-Resistant Fabrics and Carpets: These chemicals are used to make fabrics, upholstery, and carpets resistant to stains, spills, and water.
  3. Waterproof Clothing and Outdoor Gear: PFAS may be found in waterproof clothing, boots, and outdoor gear.
  4. Food Packaging: PFAS are used in certain types of food packaging, such as microwave popcorn bags and pizza boxes, because of their oil and water-repellent properties.

Industrial and Specialty Products.

  1. Firefighting Foam: PFAS are a key component in some types of firefighting foam, particularly those used at airports and military installations.
  2. Industrial Processes: PFAS are used in various industrial processes, including chrome plating, electronics manufacturing, and oil recovery.
  3. Cleaning Products: Some cleaning products may contain PFAS due to their grease- and water-resistant properties.

This is not an exhaustive list, and the presence of PFAS can vary between different brands and types of products. Manufacturers are increasingly aware of the environmental and health concerns associated with these chemicals.

Environmental and Health Implications of PFAS.

  1. PFAS compounds are known to cause widespread pollution of groundwater, thereby posing a serious threat to public health.
  2. They tend to bioaccumulate in humans and animals, leading to soil and water contamination.
  3. PFAS substances can potentially cause cancer, liver damage, and decreased fertility.
  4. Despite knowledge of these harmful effects, manufacturers allegedly did not inform state regulators, users, or consumers about the risks.

The Lawsuit Against PFAS Manufacturers.

Arizona has filed the lawsuitOpens in a new tab. against these manufacturers in Maricopa County. They join several states and hundreds of cities across the U.S. pursuing similar legal actions. The goal? To acquire damages for removing PFAS from drinking water and remediating PFAS contamination throughout the state.

The Arizona Team.

To help in this monumental legal battle, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office is joined by three law firms with significant litigation experience:

  • Baron & Budd, P.C.: Known for handling complex environmental cases on behalf of public entities.
  • Cossich, Sumich, Parsiola & Taylor, LLC: Specializes in large-scale cases involving environmental harm.
  • The Law Office of Joseph Tann, PLLC: An Arizona firm adept in complex, large-scale litigation.

Call for Enforceable Drinking Water Standards.

A coalition of 17 states, including Arizona, is calling for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set enforceable drinking water standards for PFASOpens in a new tab.. The EPA’s recent proposal to regulate six of these chemicals has received widespread support from this coalition.

Proposed Regulation Measures.

  • Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) and Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLG) for six PFAS found in drinking water.
  • A Hazard Index approach for regulating four PFAS individually and as a mixture.

The Coalition’s Recommendations for the EPA.

  1. Provide technical and engineering resources to public water systems to offset the cost burden of removing PFAS.
  2. Expedite the finalization of drinking water standards.
  3. Consider setting standards for other PFAS compounds.

The Widespread Threat of PFAS.

PFAS contamination is a serious issue often seen at military bases, firefighting training centers, civilian airports, and industrial facilities. Various states with significant PFAS contamination are investing a lot of money in addressing public drinking water system contamination and investigating potential sources of pollution.

The attorneys general of 17 states have expressed their support for the EPA’s proposed action to set national standards against the harmful health impacts of PFAS in drinking water. Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia have signed a comment letter submitted to the EPAOpens in a new tab..


Since 1995, Deborah has owned and operated LegalTech LLC with a focus on water rights. Before moving to Arizona in 1986, she worked as a quality control analyst for Honeywell and in commercial real estate, both in Texas. She learned about Arizona's water rights from the late and great attorney Michael Brophy of Ryley, Carlock & Applewhite. Her side interests are writing (and reading), Wordpress programming and much more.

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Ivy Batriani
Ivy Batriani
June 2, 2023 11:38 am
17 States are already on board for this lawsuit, I wonder how many more will join. This is a big, bad, ugly situation now, isn’t it? It’s a shame that so many popular products as well as important ones are included in this short list. The damage caused by this problem will continue to get bigger until a National effort is created, made into law and enforced. This could take time.

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