Chemical company 3M will pay a minimum of $10.3 billion to settle a series of lawsuits related to the poisoning of public drinking water systems, the company said Thursday.
The payment will be made over the next 13 years, according to the company website. The funds will be used to fund public water supplies (PWS) across the country that have detected per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs) that are also known as “forever chemicals,” as well as public water systems that could detect them in the future. The company hopes the settlement means that no further litigation is required for PWS to gain the funding they need to ensure their consumers aren’t drinking poison. The settlement will also be used to fund PWS testing nationally.
“This is an important step forward for 3M, which builds on our actions that include our announced exit of PFOA and PFOS manufacturing more than 20 years ago, our more recent investments in state-of-the-art water filtration technology in our chemical manufacturing operations, and our announcement that we will exit all PFAS manufacturing by the end of 2025,” 3M CEO and Chairman Mike Roman said in a statement.
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3M and various other chemical companies are facing more than 4,000 lawsuits over PFA water contamination and failed to admit liability throughout these cases, Reuters reported. One such suit revolved around 3M selling contaminated firefighting foam that poisoned local soil and groundwater in Florida. (RELATED: ‘Liquid Chemicals’ And A Dead Woman Sparks Major Hazmat Response In NYC: Police)
PFAs have been linked to cancer, hormonal dysfunction and environmental damage, the outlet continued. Their existence is considered an “urgent public health and environmental issue” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).