Jun 22, 2023 - Energy & Environment

3M agrees to $10.3 billion settlement in "forever chemicals" claims

Maplewood, Minnesota, 3M company global headquarters.

3M's global headquarters in Maplewood, Minnesota. Photo: Michael Siluk/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

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.

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.

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