3M Co has reached a $10.3 billion settlement with several US public water systems to resolve water pollution claims tied to “several chemicals,” the chemical company announced Thursday.
The company said the settlement will provide funding over a 13-year period to cities, towns and other public water systems to test and treat contamination with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.
3M, which has faced thousands of PFAS contamination lawsuits, has not admitted liability, and said the money will help support repairs to public water systems that have detected PFAS “in even what level.”
“We have reached the largest drinking water settlement in American history, which will be used to help filter PFAS from drinking water served to the public,” said Scott Summy, a lead attorney for the systems. water suing 3M, in a statement. “The result is that millions of Americans can have healthier lives without PFAS in their drinking water.”
3M is scheduled to face a trial in South Carolina federal court earlier this month in a lawsuit brought in Stuart, Florida. The judge presiding over the case delayed the morning trial that was scheduled to begin.
Stuart claimed in its 2018 lawsuit that the company made or sold firefighting foams containing PFAS that contaminated local soil and groundwater, and demanded more than $100 million for filtration and remediation. alright. It is one of more than 4,000 lawsuits filed against 3M and other chemical companies.
Called “permanent chemicals” because they don’t break down quickly in the human body or the environment, PFAS are used in many products from non-stick cookware to cosmetics and have been linked to cancer, hormonal dysfunction and damage to nature.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has called PFAS an “urgent public health and environmental issue.”
The EPA has taken several steps in recent years to tighten regulations for chemicals, and in March announced the first-ever national drinking water standards for six of those chemicals.
3M in December set a 2025 deadline to stop manufacturing PFAS.
Three other major chemical companies – Chemours Co, DuPont de Nemours Inc and Corteva Inc announced earlier this month that they had reached an agreement in principle for $1.19 billion to settle claims that they polluted the US public water systems of PFAS.
3M is still facing PFAS-related lawsuits filed by individuals with personal injury and property damage claims, as well as by US states for damage to natural resources such as rivers and lakes that are not part of the settlement.
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