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Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as PFAS or PFOS, have been a key ingredient in numerous industrial and consumer products for decades. These man-made chemicals are prevalent and are also known for their longevity in the environment. More recently, PFAS have been the focus of thousands of lawsuits alleging personal injury and property damage. Some insurers have already questioned whether PFAS could rival asbestos in scope and bottom-line impacts. It is a legacy that confronts manufacturers and other defendants and insurers today.
This article provides a primer on PFAS, including the current regulatory framework and litigation landscape. We also identify some key emerging coverage issues insurers should be aware of when dealing with PFAS claims under liability and first-party property policies.