3M agrees to $10.3 billion settlement in "forever chemicals" claims
3M has struck a $10.3 billion settlement with U.S. cities and towns over claims of water pollution from "forever chemicals," the chemical and manufacturing company announced Thursday.
Why it matters: The settlement in the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) case that'd be paid over a 13-year period marks a major step in efforts to curb the threat of the chemicals that've been linked to health problems, and which were found to have contaminated drinking water systems.
- Minnesota-based 3M is facing thousands of lawsuits over PFAS contamination claims and has pledged to stop making and using "forever chemicals" by the end of 2025 following increased scrutiny from regulators, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Yes, but: 3M did not admit liability in its settlement that's subject to court approval.
- "If the agreement is not approved by the court or certain agreed terms are not fulfilled, 3M is prepared to continue to defend itself in the litigation," the company said in a statement.
Driving the news: Under the agreement, 3M would provide funding to cities, towns and public water suppliers to test for PFAS and treat any contamination, per the company's statement.
- It resolves current and future drinking water claims, including multi-district litigation based in Charleston, South Carolina, 3M noted.
- 3M was due to face trial Monday in that lawsuit, brought by Stuart over allegations that the company had polluted the Florida city's water supply. But a judge granted the plaintiff's request for a delay as they sought to reach an agreement.
What they're saying: Mike Roman, chair and CEO of 3M, in a statement called the agreement "an important step forward" that builds on the company's commitment to "exit all PFAS manufacturing."
The big picture: 3M's settlement announcement follows a $1.19 billion settlement agreement by chemical producers Chemours, DuPont and Corteva earlier this month with water providers around the country over water contamination claims.