For some time, there has been controversy surrounding so-called forever chemicals.
Texans may have also heard these chemicals referred to as PFAS.
They have been around for decades, and we use them both in the industrial setting and in many common household products.
To give a few examples, PFAS chemicals are used in items like nonstick pots and pans, water and stain-resistant fabrics and makeup and other cosmetics.
These chemicals, which their big manufacturers like DuPont and 3M profit from, seep into the public water supply as well as the ground. Traces of them are also in the air we breathe.
They are called forever chemicals because they do not break down over time.
According to an agency under the umbrella of the federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more research is necessary to determine whether and to what extent these chemicals can injure people over time.
However, local governments in other states have started to take action against the manufacturers of these chemicals.
The action comes in the wake of a proposed federal regulation.
If the Environmental Protection Agency enacts the proposed regulation, then local authorities could be responsible for the costs of cleaning up water supplies with unacceptably high levels of PFAS.
One local government employee involved in the litigation explained that the government’s move to sue the manufacturers was to make sure the manufacturers, and not the government’s taxpayers, bore the cost of any required cleanup.
Reportedly, the manufacturers of PFAS products have settled other litigation and have billions of dollars set aside in a settlement fund as lawsuits unfold.
Houston residents who have been injured by PFAS may have legal options
The saga regarding PFAS products will no doubt continue. At this point, it may be too early to tell whether this story will be a repeat of other major toxic tort cases like asbestos, lead-based paint or big tobacco.
However, Houston-area residents who believe they have been injured by these products should consider their legal options.