The state of California is suing several companies over their role in the manufacture of “Forever Chemicals”.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday, also alleges that the companies, including 3M and DuPont, covered up the damage their products, commonly known as PFAS, have caused to the state’s environment and people.
“PFAS are as pervasive as they are harmful in California,” Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a press release.
“As a result of decades of deception, PFAS are in our waters, our clothes, our homes and even our bodies,” Bonta said. “The damage done by 3M, DuPont and other manufacturers of PFAS is nothing short of staggering, and without drastic action, California will deal with the damage from these toxic chemicals for generations to come. Today’s lawsuit follows a year-long investigation that found that manufacturers of PFAS knowingly violated state consumer protection and environmental laws. We will not let them off the hook because of the devastating damage done to our state.”
In addition to 3M and DuPont, the state is suing 16 smaller companies over their work with compounds used in fire-fighting foam, non-stick pans, cleaning sprays, water-repellent sports equipment, stain-resistant carpets, cosmetics and more.
Both DuPont and 3M responded to the lawsuit.
Minnesota-based 3M said in a statement that it “has acted responsibly in connection with products containing PFAS and will defend its records of environmental responsibility.” Associated Press reported.
DuPont said his company has changed over the past few years.
“In 2019, DuPont de Nemours was formed as a new multi-industry specialty products company. DuPont de Nemours has never made PFOA, PFOS or fire-fighting foam. While we do not comment on pending litigation, we believe these complaints are unfounded. and the most recent instance of DuPont de Nemours being improperly named in litigation,” the Delaware-based company said in a statement AP reported.
The chemicals do not break down, or break down very slowly, and have been found in waterways and human bloodstreams.
The companies marketed products containing PFAS despite their knowledge of their role in causing cancer, developmental disorders and other health problems, Bonta said.
Clean-up costs and penalties in the lawsuit could reach hundreds of millions of dollars, Bonta said.
The lawsuit is the first filed nationwide over PFAS contamination and accuses the companies of violating state consumer protection and environmental laws. She also points to a US federal law that makes it possible to demand a payback for the removal of hazardous substances from soil and water AP reported.
The chemicals are so dangerous that they can harm human health even in undetectable amounts, the US Environmental Protection Agency said in June.
The agency has urged states and territories to apply for funds under the new bipartisan infrastructure bill designed to target contaminants in drinking water. The $1 billion can be used for technical support, water quality testing, contractor training and the installation of a centralized treatment AP reported.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has more on PFAS.
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Citation: California files suit over ‘forever chemicals’ in water (2022, November 11), retrieved November 11, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-11-california-chemicals.html
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