EPA Reassessments of Arsenic and Perchlorate: Understanding the Issues

June 08, 2010
01:00 PM - 02:00 PM

Please join Morgan Lewis and Exponent for a one-hour webcast discussion on EPA Reassessment where we will describe where this regulation is heading and its implications for litigation. Arsenic and perchlorate are two common chemicals that are detected in much of America’s drinking water and food. They are also both targeted for reassessment by the EPA and subjects of cost-recovery litigation in state courts.

Arsenic is a known human carcinogen based on studies of foreign populations drinking high arsenic levels in well water. Recently the EPA has reassessed the cancer potency of arsenic, which will result in a increase of its estimated cancer risk.

In the last 10 years perchlorate has been detected as a common-trace contaminant in drinking water throughout the United States. This finding has spurred litigation now pending in many courts. While the standards of risk for perchlorate vary widely from state to state, the EPA now appears poised to set a national standard for that chemical.

This webcast will address the issues underlying the push for this new regulation and their implications for litigation:

  • How widespread is exposure to arsenic and perchlorate in drinking water and food?
  • What do the recent health and exposure studies tell us about the likely health risks of this exposure? 
  • What is the basis of the EPA’s revised cancer risk assessment for arsenic? 
  • Why do the standards of perchlorate vary and what will happen when the EPA begins to regulate it? 
  • What are the implications for these new standards in litigation? 
  • Given the ubiquity of these chemicals in the environment, what new litigation strategies will likely result?


  • Michael Molland and Aaron Dutra are lawyers at Morgan Lewis in San Francisco. Mr. Molland was the lead lawyer for Olin in one of the first high-stakes (and recently concluded) perchlorate lawsuits in federal court, Santa Clara Valley Water District v. Olin Corporation, which resulted in several published decisions that addressed environmental restitution, F. Supp. 2d 1048 (N.D. Cal., 2009), and recovery for perchlorate-related response costs, 655 F. Supp. 2d 1066 (N.D. Cal., 2009).
  • Dr. Michael Kelsh is an epidemiologist and a principal at Exponent. Dr. Kelsh has served on scientific advisory panels for the State Departments of Health in California, New York, and Oregon. He has conducted numerous epidemiologic studies in the areas of occupational and environmental health and is coauthor of two California studies on perchlorate-exposure thyroid function among newborns.
  • Dr. Joyce Tsuji is a principal at Exponent with board certification in toxicology and a Fellow of the Academy of Toxicological Sciences. Her publications include studies on health risks from childhood and long-term exposure to arsenic as well as biomonitoring of communities exposed to arsenic in soil, and she has also coauthored a meta-analysis of arsenic epidemiological studies. She has served on expert committees for the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council (NAS/NRC), the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, the EPA, and the U.S. Army, and she has authored many peer-reviewed articles on arsenic measurement and risk.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010
10:00-11:00 a.m. PST | 1:00–2:00 p.m. EST

To register, please use the above registration link. For more information, please contact Raquel Garcia at 213.612.7249 or raquel.garcia@morganlewis.com.

CLE Credit Information:
Application for accreditation of this CLE program in NY, PA, TX, and IL is currently pending.

CA MCLE Credit Information:
This activity has been approved for Minimum Continuing Legal Education credit by the State Bar of California in the amount of one (1.00) hour of General Education. Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, Provider No. 4730, certifies that this activity conforms to the standards approved education activities prescribed by the rules and regulations of the State Bar of California governing minimum legal education.