Legal Implications of “Forever Chemicals” on Commercial Property

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used in a variety of industries around the world since the 1940s. They have earned the nickname “forever chemicals” due to their persistence in the environment and the human body. This has led to increasing concern regarding their potential health effects and environmental impact. For owners and operators of commercial properties, the presence of PFAs can have several legal implications:


Environmental Liability

The discovery of PFAs contamination on a commercial property could trigger federal and state environmental laws requiring property owners or operators to conduct clean-up efforts. This can be both time-consuming and costly. Furthermore, if PFAs have migrated off-site, the property owner might be held liable for contamination of neighboring properties or local water sources.


Disclosure Obligations

Sellers and landlords may have a legal duty to disclose known PFAs contamination to potential buyers or tenants. Failing to disclose can result in legal action for misrepresentation or breach of warranty, potentially leading to damages or contract rescission.


Property Value

Commercial properties found to be contaminated with PFAs could suffer a decrease in market value. Potential buyers or tenants may be hesitant or demand a reduced price due to the costs and liabilities associated with remediation or the perceived health risks.


Litigation Risks

Owners or operators of contaminated sites might face lawsuits from individuals or groups alleging health issues or property damage due to PFAs exposure. Additionally, they could be a party to larger-scale legal actions if local communities or water systems are affected.


Regulatory Compliance

As the science on PFAs evolves, regulatory standards are becoming stricter. Commercial property owners need to stay abreast of changing federal, state, and local regulations concerning PFAs to ensure compliance and mitigate potential legal repercussions.

The presence of PFAs on a commercial property can lead to complex legal issues ranging from regulatory compliance to potential litigation. Property owners and their legal counsel should be proactive in addressing PFAs concerns, ensuring proper disclosure, and navigating the evolving legal landscape surrounding these chemicals.

For additional information about this and other commercial real estate issues please contact the professionals of the Jay Nuss Realty Group at 781.848.9400.