‘Forever chemicals’ are everywhere. The battle over who pays to clean them up is just getting started.
State and local governments across the country are suing manufacturers of toxic chemicals that are contaminating much of the nation’s drinking water, aiming to shield water customers and taxpayers from the massive cost of cleaning them up. These pervasive “forever chemicals,” known as PFAS, are linked to a variety of health hazards, including cancer. Now, as state lawmakers and federal regulators get serious about removing them, scores of governments and water suppliers are in pitched court battles over who is on the hook for hundreds of billions of dollars in damage — the companies that created the chemicals or the customers who are drinking them. … In Orange County, Calif., water managers found PFAS in dozens of wells that draw from a vast groundwater basin that supplies 2.5 million people.