Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have become a widespread health concern. These forever chemicals have been linked to thyroid disease, kidney damage, and certain cancers. They take a very long time to break down in the environment, and many manufacturers knew about the risks but still sold products that toxified public drinking water.
But now, states fighting back.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed a lawsuit against 13 companies that manufactured PFAs and knowingly polluted state water resources.
“For decades, these manufacturers knew about the serious risks highly toxic PFAS chemicals pose to public health, the environment, and our drinking water — yet they did nothing about it,” Healey said in a statement.
“As a result of this deception, our municipalities are spending millions of dollars to provide safe drinking water to their residents. I am suing today to hold these manufacturers accountable, require them to pay the growing costs these communities are shouldering, and repair our state’s precious natural resources that have been damaged by these illegal actions.”
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. It states the accused companies sold aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) that contains PFAS and knew the health risks of these chemicals. This violates state and national laws protecting drinking water and customers. The suit also names two other companies that hid assets that could’ve been put to use helping those affected by the contamination.
Among the companies being sued are 3M, AGC Chemical Americas, Archroma U.S. Inc., The Chemours Company, and DuPont de Nemours Inc.
The suit alleges that along with producing and selling PFAs these companies also failed to disclose their findings on the dangers of PFAs. They also lied to the US Environmental Protection Agency and tried to keep their workers from talking about PFAs.
“We’re glad the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office is taking steps to hold PFAS manufacturers accountable for the financial burden that communities are facing as they try to provide their residents with safe drinking water,” said Dr. Julia Brody, executive director and senior scientist at Silent Spring Institute.