3M reaches $10.3-billion settlement over ‘forever chemicals’ in drinking water systems

Photo: A researcher pours a water sample into a glass container for testing at an Environmental Protection Agency center in Cincinnati. (Joshua A. Bickel / Associated Press)

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Chemical manufacturer 3M will pay at least $10.3 billion to settle lawsuits over the contamination of many U.S. public drinking water systems with potentially harmful compounds used in firefighting foam and a host of consumer products, the company said Thursday.

The deal would compensate water providers for pollution with per- and polyfluorinated substances, known collectively as PFAS — a broad class of chemicals used in nonstick, water- and grease-resistant products such as clothing and cookware.

Described as “forever chemicals” because they don’t degrade naturally in the environment, PFAS have been linked to a variety of health problems, including liver and immune-system damage and some cancers.

The compounds have been detected at varying levels in drinking water around the nation. The Environmental Protection Agency in March proposed strict limits on two common types, PFOA and PFOS, and said it wanted to regulate four others. Water providers would be responsible for monitoring their systems for the chemicals.

The agreement would settle a case that was scheduled for trial earlier this month involving a claim by […]

Full article: www.latimes.com

More about: forever chemicals (PFAS, etc.), pollution, and public health