Michigan Files Lawsuit Against 17 Companies For PFAS Contamination

WWJ News
January 15, 2020 - 10:09 am
PFAS foam

PFAS foam floats along Van Etten Creek after being dumped from a storm pipe of water treated at a granular activated carbon GAC plant from the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. (© Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press, Detroit Free Press via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

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LANSING (WWJ) - Michigan has filed a lawsuit against several companies, including 3M and DuPont, for financial damages from contamination caused by potentially harmful "forever" chemicals that are turning up in drinking water across the state. 

The lawsuit filed Tuesday in state court alleges that 17 defendants deliberately concealed the dangers of a class of toxic substances known collectively as PFAS. The chemicals were used in a range of products, from nonstick cookware to fire retardents to waterproofing sprays. 

Defendants include:

  • Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co. – a/k/a 3M
  • DuPont, including its historic corporate self/identity/entity, as well as its post-merger-and-spinoff self – DuPont de Nemours Inc., a/k/a “New DuPont”
  • The Chemours Co., a spinoff of DuPont, and its subsidiary (The Chemours Co. FC LLX)
  • Corteva Inc., another DuPont spinoff which was part of Defendant Dow DuPont
  • Dyneon LLC
  • Archroma entities
  • Arkema entities
  • AGC Chemicals Americas Inc.
  • Daikin Industries entities
  • Solvay Specialty Polymers, USA LLC
  • Asahi Kasei Plastics North America Inc.

"It is our responsibility to protect our residents and our state’s natural resources and property by preventing and abating hazards to public health, safety, welfare and the environment – and by placing the responsibility for this massive undertaking with those responsible for creating the problem," Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a statement.

Click here to see a copy of the complaint (.pdf format)

The complaint contends the defendants knew or should have known that:

  • PFAS persist in the environment and do not degrade
  • PFAS would accumulate and build up in animals and humans exposed to PFAS
  • PFAS are potential or confirmed carcinogens
  • Continued manufacture and use of PFAS would inevitably result in continued and increased levels of PFAS getting into the environment and into people’s bodies

The state also contends the defendants knew PFAS are toxic and pose substantial health and environmental risks but hid this information from the state and its residents.  Specifically, the companies neglected to tell people what was in the products, suppressed the scientific evidence that the chemicals were hazardous, discharged the chemicals into the environment and distributed the chemicals all over the world, including into Michigan, knowing that PFAS would contaminate natural resources and threaten public health.  

Exposure to PFAS is correlated with several harmful and serious health effects including decreased fertility, pregnancy induced hypertension and/or preeclampsia, liver damage, thyroid disease, problems with cholesterol levels, immune system problems; and increased likelihood of cancer, especially kidney and testicular cancers.

An outside law firm is handling the case as Michigan joins New Hampshire, Vermont and Ohio in seeking damages over PFAS contamination.