On July 21, 2022, the National Academy of Science (NAS) held a public meeting regarding progress made on its PFAS report for recommendations to clinicians and physicians for PFAS testing. The National Academy of Science PFAS report that is to accompany the NAS findings is set to be release this week on July 28. While the report has not been released publicly yet, the findings by the NAS will have a significant impact on PFAS litigation, particularly personal injury litigation, for years to come. Any company with current or legacy PFAS use must pay close attention to the NAS PFAS report and recommendations.
National Academy of Science PFAS Report
A couple of years ago, the NAS began an undertaking to study recommendations that it could make to clinicians about PFAS testing in patients and how the test results can inform patient care. The NAS set out to examine the health effects for humans from PFAS and use any correlations to develop principles for treatment providers on exposure reduction. The results of the NAS evaluation of health impacts from PFAS will be provided to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) for their ongoing research into the issue. The NAS will also provide its recommendations for CDC / ATSDR clinical guidelines, including:
- Options and considerations to guide decision-making for PFAS testing in a patient’s blood or urine;
- PFAS concentrations that could inform clinical care of exposed patients;
- Appropriate patient follow-up and care specific to PFAS-associated health endpoints for those patients known or suspected to be exposed to PFAS;
- Develop general principles for clinical evaluation or biological testing given substantial scientific uncertainty about health effects or the value of such measures in informing care. These principles may address reasons for testing (e.g., opportunities to reduce morbidity and mortality), when to test, who to test, how to test, what to test for, risks of testing, and the related social and ethical implications of testing;
- Review current knowledge about the contribution of PFAS exposure sources (i.e., drinking water, diet, the indoor environment, etc.) to human exposure and develop principles clinicians can use to advise patients on exposure reduction; and
- Outline a process by which the CDC / ATSDR PFAS clinical guidance can be effectively reviewed and revised over the next decade.
The National Academy of Science PFAS report will release its report on July 28 and host a webinar to explain its findings. During a July 21, 2022 briefing, Elizabeth Boyle, the committee’s responsible staff officer, said that the NAS has begun briefing sponsors, community liaisons and members of Congress ahead of the report’s release date. She also indicated that the NAS took into considerations environmental justice issues when writing its report.
Impact On Future Litigation
The National Academy of Science PFAS report will serve to inform front line health providers with information to include PFAS testing in routine medical care, as well as recommendations for advising patients on reducing exposure to PFAS. If the NAS recommendations for testing patients are adopted and implemented, over the course of the next few years, millions of citizens in the United States may have their blood tested for PFAS. The data obtained from these medical checkups could be used to further examine correlations between PFAS and impacts to human health. Those correlations will provide ammunition to plaintiffs’ attorneys looking to bring lawsuits against potentially responsible companies, as well as lend support to the need for medical monitoring legal claims.
It is of the utmost importance that businesses along the whole supply chain in various industries evaluate their PFAS risk. Public health and environmental groups urge legislators to regulate PFAS at an ever-increasing pace. Similarly, state level EPA enforcement action is increasing at a several-fold rate every year. Companies that did not manufacture PFAS, but merely utilized PFAS in their manufacturing processes, are therefore becoming targets of costly enforcement actions at rates that continue to multiply year over year. Lawsuits are also filed monthly by citizens or municipalities against companies that are increasingly not PFAS chemical manufacturers. One of the best ways to prevent costly litigation is to understand not only current but historical risks and closely assess how business practices can be adjusted to minimize such risk.
CMBG3 Law is following judicial, legislative, administrative, and scientific developments relating to PFAS. We assist companies with all of their PFAS compliance, risk prediction, and litigation needs. More information about the services we can provide, including risk assessments, to ensure your business is ready for any intersection with these substances can be found on our PFAS Litigation page.
Our attorneys have been at the forefront of PFAS issues, including giving presentations as to the future waves of litigation stemming from PFAS issues. For more information, please contact any of our PFAS – Toxic Torts Team: John Gardella.