Nov 28, 2023 - Energy & Environment

Appeals court orders dismissal of lawsuit against makers of "forever chemicals"

The 3M plant in Cordova, Illinois, in May 2022. Photo: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Makers of "forever chemicals" won a legal victory Monday when an appeals court overruled an earlier decision that would have allowed millions of Ohio residents to join a class action lawsuit against the companies.

Driving the news: The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals instructed a lower court to dismiss the case filed against 3M, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., Chemours, Corteva and other manufacturers of the synthetic compounds, referred to collectively as PFAS.

  • The court ruled that the lawsuit filed by the lead plaintiff was too broad and failed to show how the PFAS detected in their body could be linked to any one company's actions.
  • Rather, the plaintiff's lawsuit had accused the companies of collectively contaminating the environment, per Reuters.

What they're saying: "We are pleased with the Sixth Circuit's decision and order that this case be dismissed," 3M told Axios in a statement.

State of play: "Forever chemicals" at certain levels have been linked to adverse health effects in both animals and humans, per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: The case that the appeals court ruled on is just one of many lawsuits that have been filed against the manufacturers of PFAS chemicals.

  • In June, 3M reached a $10.3 billion settlement with U.S. cities and towns over claims of water pollution from the chemicals.
  • That same month, producers Chemours, DuPont and Corteva reached a $1.19 billion settlement with water providers around the country.

Editor's note: This story was updated with a statement from 3M.

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