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State sues 17 companies over PFAS contamination, calling the substance a “forever chemical”

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Lansing, Mich. (WLNS)– The state of Michigan announced they’ve filed a lawsuit against 17 companies for their role in PFAS contamination across the state.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and, Liesl Eichler Clark, Director of the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy all spoke at a press conference Tuesday night.

The lawsuit was filed in Washtenaw County Tuesday afternoon against the following defendants:

  • Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co. – a/k/a 3M;
  • DuPont, including its historic corporate self/identity/entity, as well as its post-merger-and-spinoff self – DuPont de Nemours Inc., a/k/a “New DuPont”;
  • The Chemours Co., a spinoff of DuPont, and its subsidiary (The Chemours Co. FC LLX);
  • Corteva Inc., another DuPont spinoff which was part of Defendant Dow DuPont;
  • Dyneon LLC;
  • Archroma entities;
  • Arkema entities;
  • AGC Chemicals Americas Inc.;
  • Daikin Industries entities;
  • Solvay Specialty Polymers, USA LLC; and
  • Asahi Kasei Plastics North America Inc.

The lawsuit claims that the defendants deliberately concealed the dangers of PFAS and withheld scientific evidence, and intentionally, knowingly and recklessly sold, distributed, released, transported, supplied, arranged for disposal or treatment, and handled and used PFAS and PFAS-containing materials in Michigan in a way that they knew would contaminate natural resources and expose Michigan residents to harm.

“These defendants, persistent failure to act demands that governor Whitmer and I take every legal and regulatory action necessary to protect the people and the property of our state. So on behalf of the people of Michigan today, we are taking that legal step forward,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

There have been 70 different contamination sites identified in Michigan so far.

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contaminate drinking water nationwide.

Exposure to PFAS can lead to decreased fertility, pregnancy-induced hypertension and/or preeclampsia, liver damage, thyroid disease, problems with cholesterol levels, immune system problems, and increased likelihood of cancer. PFAS has even been found in the blood of newborns after being absorbed by the mother.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, PFAS can be found in:

  • Food packaged in PFAS-containing materials, processed with equipment that used PFAS, or grown in PFAS-contaminated soil or water.
  • Commercial household products, including stain- and water-repellent fabrics, nonstick products (e.g., Teflon), polishes, waxes, paints, cleaning products, and fire-fighting foams (a major source of groundwater contamination at airports and military bases where firefighting training occurs).
  • Workplace, including production facilities or industries (e.g., chrome plating, electronics manufacturing or oil recovery) that use PFAS.
  • Drinking water, typically localized and associated with a specific facility (e.g., manufacturer, landfill, wastewater treatment plant, firefighter training facility).
  • Living organisms, including fish, animals and humans, where PFAS have the ability to build up and persist over time.

On Friday, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would designate PFAS a hazardous chemical, meaning manufacturers and the U.S. Department of Defense could be responsible for a speedy cleanup.

Governor Whitmer said her number one priority is to protect the health of Michiganders, adding, “It’s time these companies step up.”

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