Wednesday 20 October 2021

Litigation and claims relating to hazardous substances have been on the rise. However, we are now seeing similar impacts increasing in UK, Europe and Australia in particular and to ensure robust preparedness AXA XL has invested significantly into their emerging risks management approach. Identification and assessment of emerging risks and their potential impact to our clients has been undertaken for a wide variety of exposures and industries but has been recently dominated by two main hazardous chemical substances: Glyphosate and Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS).

Glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicide products worldwide and has historically been seen as one of the most effective herbicides as weed resistance rises. Historical concerns on alleged carcinogenic properties of glyphosate were exacerbated when the IARC reclassified the substance as probably carcinogenic back in 2015. We have seen significant impact to manufacturers, handlers and industrial applicators from litigation centred on alleged adverse health effects through occupational exposures. Vegetation management contractors and groundskeepers would be among the occupations potentially most at risk.

Due to the widespread use of PFAS and their ability to remain intact in the environment, over time PFAS levels can result in increased levels of environmental contamination and potentially enter the food chain. Though many PFAS manufacturing has been phased out, they are still found in food, drinking water, and consumer goods such as carpets, leather and textiles. Most recent focus has fallen on the use within firefighting foams, incomplete incineration of older varieties of such foams and the potential for migration through firefighter turnout gear.

This webinar will highlight the concerns we have for these substances in terms of claims and litigation potential as well as what could potentially impact member organisations in the future.

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