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UPDATE: 3M Says Servicemen and Women Don’t Deserve to Know About the Potential Risks of Defective Combat Earplugs

By May 11, 2020August 5th, 2022Veteran Issues

There have been some truly jaw-dropping updates in the lawsuit against potentially defective 3M combat earplugs. According to Newsweek, recently unsealed court documents show that 3M mocked the large profit margin they were making from selling these earplugs to the military and downplayed responsibility for knowingly hiding safety defects from vulnerable servicemen and women. 

One unsealed text exchange shows a 3M marketing manager exclaiming “LOL” after boasting about selling the potentially defective products to the Department of Defense at a nearly 89% markup.

Another reveals a deposition with former VP at 3M subsidiary Aearo Technologies Martin Salon. When he was asked whether it was acceptable “to sell a product and conceal information where it will have a negative effect on our soldiers,” he answered, “Yes.”

The implications of this are infuriating. Not only did 3M potentially put our servicemen and women at additional risk, but they did so while taking advantage of taxpayer dollars – and quite literally LOL-ing all the way to the bank.

About 140,000 servicemen, women and veterans are now taking legal action for hearing loss or tinnitus caused by potentially defective 3M combat earplugs. They’re accusing 3M of knowingly making deceptive claims about the effectiveness of the earplugs and covering up research that reveals how ineffective and harmful these products can be. Some claim that the earplugs issued to them may have only been able to block 10 percent of the noise level advertised.

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, hearing issues are the most common military-related injury – with hundreds of thousands of veterans on disability for hearing loss and over a million being compensated for tinnitus. These kinds of injuries can also be long-lasting and extremely difficult to treat.

ACFW is proud to have looked into legal options for thousands of brave servicemen, women and veterans. If you or someone you love may have been affected, please get in touch via our 3M hearing loss page. If we’re already working on this for you, we urge you to complete the questionnaire or agreement we’ve sent you as soon as possible. Often big, potentially damning revelations like these can fast-track the legal proceedings. With 3M also facing controversies over distribution of their masks during the pandemic, they may be eager to reach a settlement sooner so they can put this behind them. We’d hate for you to miss your chance at justice and potential financial compensation, so please don’t delay any further!