The National Agricultural Law Center Webinar
Not Your Grandfather’s Corn Maze – Regulatory and Legal Responses to Challenges Faced by Agriculture Due to PFAS Contamination
Presenters: Kyla Kaplan (OFW Law) and Ryan Stifter, MS & Chase Gerbig, PhD, PE (Roux)
Wednesday, October 18 at 12-1pm EST
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, better known as “PFAS,” are a diverse class of thousands of synthetic chemicals first manufactured in the 1940s. PFAS are commercially desirable but very challenging to manage once they are introduced into the environment because of their thermal and chemical stability, water-resistance, and surfactant properties. Once classified as “emerging contaminants,” data recognizing PFAS’ widespread use in industry and presence in the environment continues to accumulate. PFAS uses include applications in cosmetics, stain-resistant coatings on fabrics, and fire-fighting foam. The widespread commercial use of PFAS has resulted in the presence of PFAS in agriculturally significant materials, including in irrigation water, biosolids, and composts. PFAS have also been identified in agricultural products (e.g., milk, orange juice). Furthermore, studies have linked exposure to certain PFAS compounds with adverse health outcomes, including risk of some cancers and reproductive issues, although significant uncertainty and a lack of consistent data remains.
Perceived PFAS health risks and their extensive use led regulators to enact and propose a variety of guidelines and legislation aimed at reducing exposure. Although rulemaking is underway, PFAS are not yet subject to comprehensive regulation under federal environmental statutes. Some states, however, have developed regulations resulting in a patchwork of PFAS standards nationally. Litigation related to environmental, toxic tort, and product liability suits is beginning to unfold in this landscape of PFAS regulatory and scientific uncertainty, leading to billions in settlements to date with much more litigation expected to come.
During this webinar, attendees will hear from a panel of leading legal, environmental, and economic experts with a deep understanding of PFAS and the potential impacts on agriculture and food processing industries:
- Learn the basics of PFAS chemistry and fate & transport, focusing particularly on how PFAS intersect with agriculture
- Get acquainted with regulatory compliance challenges facing agriculture, including a brief federal overview and an overview of various state-proposed and enacted legislation
- Learn the types of PFAS litigation involving agricultural industries, economic impacts of federal regulation, and potential consequences of contamination for property owners
This webinar will provide a general framework to understand the wide-ranging implications of PFAS and will focus on the aspects of regulation and risk specifically relevant to agriculture and the food industry.
This webinar, hosted by The National Agricultural Law Center (NALC), will be moderated by Staff Attorney Brigit Rollins.