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DuPont & 3M to Pay Billions for Polluting US Water with Forever Chemicals.

By June 28, 2023February 14th, 2024General

Junior high biology teaches it takes seven years for chewing gum to digest if you swallow it (didn’t we all do it – at least once?). PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (pronouncedPEE-fuhs”), are impervious chemicals used in everything from nonstick cookware, clothes and stuffed toys to stain-resistant carpet, iPhones, and firefighting foam.

PFAS do not decompose naturally in the environment. Hence the tag: forever chemicals.

Massive Settlements Reached.

Dupont, Chemours, and Corteva reached a $1.19 billion deal on June 2, 2023 to compensate water providers who supply most of the U.S. for polluting municipal waterways with PFAS.

3M followed on June 22 with a $10.3 billion settlement, avoiding a trial that would bring attention to hidden internal documents revealing company heads knew about the potential environmental health hazards linked to PFAS but continued production.

Neither settlement covers personal injury and 3M could be looking at an eventual sum approaching $30 billion after factoring state, foreign, and personal injury claims.

Injury Is Another Matter.

Researchers estimate a price tag of $62.6 billion would cover costs resulting from the treatment of PFAS-attributable diseases. At least 6 PFAS particles are known to cause cancer.

According to the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), inhaling or ingesting PFAS can cause changes in liver and thyroid function, pre- and neonatal development, immune response, and alterations in cellular structure/cancer.

Urgent Research.

As concern over this class of chemicals escalated, scientists focused laser attention, conducting new studies at ranking research facilities like Harvard and Notre Dame. The results show PFAS may be more harmful than originally speculated. As many as 110 million Americans have been contaminated through public drinking water, compared to an earlier calculation of 16 million.

Put another way, PFAS are infiltrating the atmosphere. They float beyond military installations and industrial chemical plants into soil. From there they can breach source drinking water from coast to coast.

What You Need to Know.

A Case for Women continues alerting readers to products containing toxins such as high-dose heavy metals found in processed baby foods, except those contaminants are measured in parts per billion (ppb). PFAS are so potent their safety levels are measured in parts per trillion (ppt).

The U.S. Department of Energy advises limiting PFAS to one part per trillion – roughly the equivalent of one drop per 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency) in May 2022 “swiftly” proposed revising new safety limits for PFAS in drinking water to one part per trillion.

“There is no contaminant in our nation’s history that has been regulated this fast,” said Kyle Doudrick, associate professor at Notre Dame’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences. 

Since PFAS are “emerging contaminants,” they are a priority of President Biden’s Infrastructure Bill, with $2 billion allocated to manage and treat the pollutants in source watersheds. Another $3 billion from the US Department of Defense (DOD) has been allocated for environmental detection and management of PFAS in U.S. waterways.

Environmental Working Group (EWG) has comprehensive resources on where PFAS water contamination sites are located. Check out the interactive map on their website to learn more.

Searching for Answers.

The EPA says it is grappling with unanswered questions:

1/ How to better and more efficiently detect/measure PFAS in air, water, and soil.

2/ How many people are already exposed to PFAS.

3/ How much harm PFAS can cause people and the environment.

4/ How to remove PFAS from drinking water.

5/ How to manage and dispose of PFAS.

Help Us Help You.

So far 22 states have banned PFAS in manufacturing across the board.

If you live in one of the contaminated sites noted on the EWG website and have been diagnosed with a serious related health condition, such as cancer, please contact us 24/7/365 about possible contingency-fee legal representation, which means you pay nothing unless you achieve financial compensation via a settlement or verdict.

We are also currently working with men and women who are now suffering from cancer or thyroid disease after exposure to firefighting foam (AFFF), which contains PFAS. Read up on the firefighting foam lawsuit and see how we may be able to help your or your family.

We are here for you.