Dr. Robert A. Michaels on 31 January 2020 made an invited presentation to the New York State Bar Association, Energy and Environmental Law Section. The presentation, titled Contaminants of Emergent Concern, is available for viewing and/or download at no charge, at the following url: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339055672_Legacy_Contaminants_of_Emergent_Concern.
Concern about historic (‘legacy’) contaminants may be emerging as information about their toxic effects and toxic potency increases, and with discovery of their presence at toxic levels in various environmental media. Two classes of substances exemplify such concerns: lead (Pb) and its compounds, and perfluorinated compounds (PFAs). PFAs have been termed ‘forever chemicals’, but Pb qualifies as well. Concern about these contaminants is emerging because of at least three issues: failures of environmental justice, the need for international agreements regarding globe-trotting contaminants, and the conflict between protecting science and public health exemplified by inadequately probative study designs for identifying cancer clusters.