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The State of Delaware has filed a lawsuit against the chemical company 3M for its alleged role in toxic PFAS contamination.
The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court of Delaware, alleges 3M, and multiple other manufacturers, understood the health risks of PFAS by at least the 1960s, but offered no warnings about the dangers associated with firefighting foam that contains the toxic class of chemicals.
PFAS have tainted drinking water supplies near military bases and airports, where the foam was discharged during fires and training exercises.
In 2018, an analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists found Dover Air Force Base had the fourth highest levels of PFAS across all U.S. military sites. In 2022, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found residents near the New Castle National Guard Base had PFAS in their blood more than 9 times above the national average.
“I don’t care who you are: if you harm Delaware and its people, we will hold you accountable,” said Attorney General Kathy Jennings in a statement. “3M and the other defendants knew the dangers that PFAS posed and they still chose profits over our neighborhoods and our children. Delawareans shouldn’t have to pay the costs of corporate greed, and we’re taking action to ensure that they won’t.”
In a statement, 3M said it is committed to remediating PFAS, investing in water treatment, and collaborating with communities.
“3M will continue to address PFAS litigation by defending itself in court or through negotiated resolutions, all as appropriate,” the statement reads.
In June, 3M agreed to support PFAS remediation for public water suppliers in the U.S. Subject to court approval, the agreement provides funding for public water suppliers across the country for PFAS treatment technologies without the need for further litigation.
PFAS can remain in the environment — and the human bloodstream — for decades. The chemicals have been linked to some cancers, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, developmental delays in children, and other health conditions. That has led to numerous federal, state, and local lawsuits against companies that have made the products. The State of Delaware reached a $50 million settlement with DuPont, Chemours, and Corteva in 2021.