PFAS Litigation Against 3M, Others Is Proving Hard to Contain

For decades, toxic PFAS chemicals silently entered US water supplies but now it’s the litigation against the “forever chemical” suppliers that’s seeping into new counties.

Kent County Water Authority announced it has hired law firms and joined hundreds of similar suits against 3M and other companies linked to the manufacture and sale of products containing PFAS. Like so many others, Kent County wants to be compensated for the cost to clean up its water.

“The litigation will help to ensure the cost of removing PFAS contaminants are borne by the manufacturers and sellers of these products, not the ratepayers,” David Simmons, executive director of Kent’s water authority, said in a statement.

While the likes of 3M, Chemours, DuPont, Corteva are in the spotlight, a host of other companies globally are also implicated and setting aside provisions, including Belgium’s Solvay, which booked EU288 million in provisions for a settlement with environmental authorities in New Jersey. By contrast, 3M has earmarked $10.5-12.5 billion in funds for public water suppliers across the US to help with the cost of remediation from 2024 to 2036.

3M made no admission of liability and its settlement doesn’t cover other types of lawsuits like personal injury claims and medical monitoring, which analysts think could add double-digit billions to the ultimate liabilities.

For the companies involved, PFAS could remain a fluid situation.

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