PFAS is the ecological dilemma manufacturers across many businesses will need to pay attention to now. PFAS is an acronym for each – and polyfluoroalkyl substances. It’s a family of compounds used in several programs, but they are getting a lot of attention now because of possible negative environmental effects. That attention is in the shape of regulation, remediation obligations, and potential lawsuits, which means potential increased liability and risk that manufacturers need to proactively assess.

To know if your manufacturing company could be affected, here are three questions to ask.

Do you now or have you previously used PFAS compounds on your procedure?
The Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council, or ITRC, lists 18 businesses and applications of PFAS compound use such as: aviation and aerospace; automotive; biocides; building and structure; cable and wiring; cosmetics and personal care products; electronics; electricity; firefighting and safety; food processing; household goods; medical products; alloy plating and metal finishing; petroleum production; mining; paper and packaging; photolithography; and textiles. PFAS compounds also have been connected with auto wash operations, paper or cardboard recycling operations, and properties on or near former army bases. If your business is in these businesses, then you need to check if you now or in the past have used PFAS chemicals or research if PFAS chemicals might have been used on the house.

If your surgeries include tank farms that store petroleum products or if you have ever had a fire, there might be PFAS chemicals on your property as part of fire suppression systems. Central heating plants also may have inner fire suppression systems which use PFAS compounds and might have been activated inadvertently or because of an emergency situation.

Do you already participate in the remediation of national Superfund remediation projects?
If your present portfolio of environmental obligations includes remediation at one of Superfund sites, then this remediation might be affected by PFAS. There are no PFAS chemicals currently listed as a hazardous substance under Superfund, but this was a stated focus in the new Biden management . Meanwhile, EPA has established interim remediation goals for 2 of the PFAS chemicals, PFOA and PFOS, and Superfund sites are requested to look for these contaminants that are new. If found, there’ll likely need to be more funds allocated to those remediation projects.

Have you got a well that uses groundwater as a source for process or drinking water?
The primary health issue with PFAS chemicals is intake through drinking water. This sampling has also included non-community systems which may service industrial facilities. If your facility uses an onsite groundwater well, that could possibly be included as part of a testing program.

This is, obviously, not an exhaustive of list of what a manufacturer could review, but these questions can act as an initial screening tool. If your manufacturing business might have possible consequences from use of PFAS, consider working with an attorney to evaluate what your risks may be. These dangers might be in the kind of greater water or air allowing obligations, new or increased remediation work, employee exposure or taxpayer lawsuit lawsuits, current and previous waste disposal questions, and enhanced focus on these problems during trade diligence — to mention a few.