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California Files PFAS Lawsuit Against 3M and DuPont

December 13, 2022

California's Attorney General Rob Bonta, California's 34th Attorney General stated that the State of California had filed a lawsuit against 3M Co, DuPont de Nemours Inc, and many other companies. The lawsuit will try to recover the "staggering" clean-up costs up "forever chemical" toxic pollutants.

Attorney General Rob Bonta stated that the state's lawsuit followed a multi-year investigation that uncovered the companies manufactured and sold products containing polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) for decades even though they knew those chemicals cause developmental defects in children, cancer, and other serious health problems. Attorney General Bonta stated that the lawsuit would seek hundreds of millions of dollars in clean-up costs and penalties.

A DuPont spokesperson stated that DuPont never manufactured PFOS, PFOA, or firefighting foam, referring to two known PFAS substances. The spokesperson for DuPont also stated that DuPont believes the lawsuit erroneously names it as a defendant and the complaints are without merit.

3M spokesperson Carolyn LaViolette stated that 3M acted responsibly with PFAS products and the company would defend its history of "environmental stewardship." 

PFAS substances are also known as "Forever Chemicals" because the substances remain in the human body and in the environment indefinitely. PFAS have been mass-produced for more than 50 years and are used to manufacture nonstick pans, firefighting foams, and personal care products.

According to Attorney General Bonta, the defendants "created a public nuisance," and the State of California is demanding these companies pay to clean up PFAS, which have been found in California's rivers, drinking water, lakes, wildlife, and in the bloodstreams of 98% of California population. Moreover, he feels these toxic chemicals will remain for generations to come. 

Over the past twenty years, thousands of lawsuits have been filed against chemical companies for causing health and environmental damage from PFAS. It is estimated that the damages could reach billions of dollars.

California's lawsuit is the first statewide lawsuit involving PFAS contamination. The complaint alleges violations of state environmental violations and consumer protection laws. The case invokes the federal Superfund law, which creates a path for governments and municipalities to recover the costs of cleaning up hazardous substances.

Last June, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cautioned that "Forever Chemicals" can be dangerous at any level. This is because these chemicals accumulate in the environment and in the human body leading to severe health issues. The Biden administration is anticipated to administer the first enforceable PFAS drinking water regulations.

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All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.