George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

Toxic Politics: How Should Congress, Regulators, and Courts Address PFAS Chemicals?

Event Details

  • Date:
  • Venue: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room G-50
  • Division: Civil Justice Academy

Evidence that a widely used class of water resistant chemicals called per-fluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (or PFAS) may be harmful to humans has led legislators and regulatory agencies to call for greater restrictions on their use. And plaintiff’s lawyers are busy recruiting clients – including individuals who’ve been exposed to the chemicals at work as well as cities and states that have detected PFAS in their drinking water – to sue companies that make and use PFAS chemicals. Critics, on the other hand, have pointed to a growing body of research, including a Centers for Disease Control risk analysis, showing that the evidence of impacts on human health are inconsistent and inconclusive. As the CDC report indicates, “Adverse health effects have been demonstrated in animal studies, but these occurred at exposure levels higher than those found in most people.”

What do we really know about PFAS chemicals? And, given the current state of the science, is a rush to regulate premature, or is it better to be safe than sorry? How should Congress, regulatory agencies, and the courts deal with PFAS exposures?

Join us as our panel of experts discuss the health and risk issues surrounding PFAS chemicals and debate how best to approach regulation and litigation.


Scott Faber, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, Environmental Working Group

Jonathan Gledhill, President, Policy Navigation Group

Steven Jawetz, Principal, Beveridge & Diamond, PC

G. Tracy Mehan III, Executive Director for Government Affairs, American Water Works Association

Moderator:  Gregory Conko, Deputy Director, George Mason University Law & Economics Center

Lunch will be served.


Questions?  Contact our Program Assistant, Andrew McCarthy at