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Emerging Contaminants

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other emerging contaminants have become an important focus for governmental regulators, legislators, and plaintiffs’ lawyers.

Widely used in commercial and industrial applications around the world since the mid-1900s, often due to their durability and fluid-resistant properties, PFAS, in particular, are now commonly evaluated at remediation sites even in jurisdictions lacking enforceable regulatory standards. Examples of consumer products containing PFAS include stain and water-repellent fabrics, cookware coatings, food packaging materials, plastics, and fire suppression foam.

Like PFAS, other emerging contaminants (e.g. 1,4-Dioxane, 1,2,3-Trichloropropane, 2,4,6-Trinitrotoluene, Dinitrotoluene, Hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine, N-Nitroso-dimethylamine, Perchlorate, Polybrominated biphenyls, Polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and Tungsten), are increasingly becoming subject to regulatory and judicial activity at both the state and federal levels. Indeed, a growing number of jurisdictions have imposed, or are considering, new remediation, groundwater, and/or drinking water standards for emerging contaminants through guidance or new regulations.

Our lawyers work with federal and state officials as agencies consider policies, regulations, and guidance important to our clients. We help clients submit comments on agency draft rules and other regulatory statements, represent client interests at public hearings, facilitate agency communications, and appeal agency actions when necessary.

Mindful of the evolving landscape, we regularly advise clients on possible liabilities regarding emerging contaminants and help guide them through the related legal, regulatory, and scientific challenges to develop reasonable and effective investigation, remedial, risk management, cost-recovery, and communication strategies. Our deep experience with PFAS and other emerging contaminants also includes the defense of enforcement actions and work to advise municipal and other public utility clients as they evaluate potential risks from PFAS and emerging contaminants in drinking water systems, effluent discharges, and biosolids.

Awards & Honors

  • Chambers USA
    • Environment, Illinois (2012-2021)
  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” – National Tier 1
    • Litigation – Environmental (2012-2015 and 2019-2022)
  • U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” – Metropolitan Tier 1
    • Environmental Law, Chicago (2012-2022)
    • Litigation – Environmental, Chicago (2012-2022)

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