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Austin advises clients across industries on complex environmental compliance, permitting, and litigation matters. He has successfully represented clients in state and federal courts.

As regulation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) continues to develop at the state and federal level, an issue of significant concern is the potential for product packaging made with PFAS to impart or “leach” those PFAS into the products contained within. In a prior article in this space, Taft’s Environmental practice group outlined a recent EPA order requiring a manufacturer of fluorinated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) containers designed to hold various liquid products to cease producing such packaging using PFAS, out of concern for the risk of PFAS leaching into the products. Now, at least one state legislature is taking up the issue in an effort to prevent products containing PFAS as a result of leaching from entering commerce in that state.Continue Reading Proposed Vermont Legislation Seeks to Address PFAS Risks Associated with Fluorinated HDPE Packaging

On November 17, the EPA paused its prior approval of up to 100 shipments of wastes containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from the Chemours Netherlands B.V. facility in Dordrecht to the Chemours Fayetteville Works plant in North Carolina. The North Carolina Chemours plant has been the source of previous pollution.

This news comes on the heels of a new analysis of EPA data showing that over the last five years at least 60 million pounds of PFAS waste has been disposed of in the US. According to the author of the new analysis, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Peer), the 60m pounds estimate is likely to be a “dramatic” undercount because PFAS waste is mostly “unregulated” in the US and companies are typically not required to record its disposal. As part of its analysis, Peer identified over 10,300 PFAS waste shipments between June 2018 and June 2023.Continue Reading US Continues Disposing of PFAS Waste Despite Known Dangers

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On October 17, California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued an Enforcement Advisory Letter indicating that the Attorney General’s office intends to bring enforcement actions against companies that fail to comply with California’s new law restricting the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in food packaging and requiring disclosure and labeling when PFAS are used in cookware products.

The California law, known as Assembly Bill 1200 (A.B. 1200), went into effect on January 1, 2023. The law prohibits businesses, including shops and restaurants selling take-out food, from distributing, selling, or offering for sale any “food packaging” that contains PFAS. “Food packaging” is broadly defined and includes take-out food containers, unit product boxes, liners, wrappers, serving vessels, eating utensils, straws, food boxes, and disposable plates, bowls, or trays. The law also requires disclosure and labeling when PFAS are intentionally included in any “cookware” product that comes into contact with food or beverages. “Cookware” includes pots, pans, skillets, grills, baking sheets, baking molds, trays, bowls, and cooking utensils.Continue Reading California Attorney General Reinforces Intent to Pursue Enforcement Actions Against Violators of New PFAS Content Law