PFAS – A Growing Toxic Threat

PFAS – A Growing Toxic Threat

September 12, 2018 Business Insurance and Risk Management, The Beacon Blog 0 Comments

Toxic chemicals called perfluoralkyl substances or PFAS are a growing environmental threat nationwide. PFAS are man-made chemicals used in hundreds of consumer based products due to their resistance to heat, water and oil. These products include non-stick cookware, water-resistant apparel, stain resistant upholstery and carpets, food paper wrappings, fire fighting foam, and cosmetics.

PFAS can resist degradation and concentrate in blood and organs of humans and other species. High concentrations have been associated with low birth weight, delayed puberty, elevated cholesterol levels, and reduced response to vaccinations. Exposure can come from contaminated dust and food or beverages, ans sometimes though skin contact.

The non-profit Environmental Working Group has analyzed EPA tests on drinking water and found that more than 1,5000 drinking water systems in the United States, serving up to 110 million Americans, are potentially contaminated. Some of those systems are in the mid-Atlantic area.

Public reports should reveal if your local system has a high concentration of PFAS; if this information is not public ask your local health department. Risk reduction strategies include drinking filtered or bottled water, avoid contaminated fish and try to discontinue using products with PFAS.

Property owners with PFAS exposures should purchase Pollution insurance that will cover first party cleanup for an extended period, bodily injury and property damage including damage to the environment. Contact Beacon Insurance for a proposal.

About the Author

Harry Cylinder

Harry Cylinder, CPCU, ARM has spent nearly fifty years in the insurance industry, the majority of the time as a consultant. He has been employed by The Beacon Group of Companies since 2008, specializing in the review and analysis of property and casualty coverage forms. Mr. Cylinder has been reviewing policy forms as they have evolved over the past decades. In 2008 he published an article in the CPCU Journal which was the first description of cyber insurance coverage for a general insurance audience. Since that time he has regularly written on cyber and other topics for The Beacon Companies’ blog.