AP

California sues over ‘forever chemicals’ that taint water

Nov 10, 2022, 2:26 PM | Updated: Nov 13, 2022, 10:47 am

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A lawsuit filed Thursday by the state of California accuses 3M, Dupont and 16 smaller companies of covering up the harm caused to the environment and the public from chemicals manufactured by the firms that have over decades found their way into waterways and human bloodstreams.

Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the lawsuit against the manufacturers of compounds that have been used in consumer goods and industry since the 1940s. The chemicals are found in firefighting foams, nonstick frying pans, cleaning sprays, water-repellent sports gear, stain-resistant rugs, cosmetics and countless other products.

Bonta said these so-called forever chemicals are so strong that they do not degrade or do so only slowly in the environment and remain in a person’s bloodstream indefinitely.

The companies knew for decades that the chemicals are “toxic and harmful to human health and the environment, yet they continued to produce them for mass use and concealed their harms from the public,” Bonta said.

He said the court action comes following a multiyear investigation that found the companies marketed products containing PFAS, short for polyfluoroalkyl substances, despite knowing they cause cancer, developmental defects, reduced bone density and other health problems.

Minnesota-based 3M said in a statement after the court filing that it “acted responsibly in connection with products containing PFAS and will defend its record of environmental stewardship.”

Dupont, based in Delaware, said the company as it now exists should not have been named in the lawsuit.

“In 2019, DuPont de Nemours was established as a new multi-industrial specialty products company. DuPont de Nemours has never manufactured PFOA, PFOS or firefighting foam. While we don’t comment on pending litigation, we believe these complaints are without merit, and the latest example of DuPont de Nemours being improperly named in litigation,” the statement said.

The lawsuit, filed in Alameda County, is the first statewide legal action over PFAS contamination.

It alleges violations of state consumer protection and environmental statutes and invokes a federal law that establishes a path to recoup the costs of cleaning up hazardous substances in soil and water.

Bonta estimated penalties and cleanup costs sought by the lawsuit would reach hundreds of millions of dollars.

U.S. manufacturers have voluntarily phased out compounds such as PFAS, but there are a limited number of ongoing uses and the chemicals remain in the environment because they do not degrade over time.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency in June invited states and territories to apply for $1 billion under the new bipartisan infrastructure law to address PFAS and other contaminants in drinking water. Money can be used for technical assistance, water quality testing, contractor training and installation of centralized treatment, officials said.

The EPA warned then that the chemicals are more dangerous than previously thought and pose health risks even at levels so low they cannot currently be detected.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Arizona and New York attorneys feud over extraditing suspect...

Associated Press

Why Alvin Bragg and Rachel Mitchell are fighting over extraditing suspect in New York hotel killing

Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell says she isn't into extraditing a suspect due to her lack of faith in Manhattan’s top prosecutor.

3 days ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018. A 34-year-old Color...

Associated Press

Colorado man dies after being bitten by pet Gila monster

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death by one of the desert lizards if the creature's venom turns out to have been the cause.

4 days ago

Police clear the area following a shooting at the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football Super Bowl celebr...

Associated Press

1 dead, many wounded after shooting at Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade

One person died after 22 people were hit by gunfire in a shooting at the end of the Kansas Chiefs' Super Bowl victory celebration Wednesday.

11 days ago

This image from House Television shows House Speaker Mike Johnson of La., banging the gavel after h...

Associated Press

GOP-led House impeaches Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas — by one vote — over border management

Having failed to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas the first time, House Republicans are determined to try again Tuesday.

12 days ago

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, right, and Kenya's Defense Minister Aden Duale, left, listen during...

Associated Press

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin hospitalized with bladder issue

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has been hospitalized following symptoms pointing to an “emergent bladder issue."

14 days ago

Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church, stands with his wife, Victoria Osteen, as he conducts a...

Associated Press

Woman firing rifle killed by 2 off-duty officers at Houston’s Lakewood Church run by Joel Osteen

A woman entered the Texas megachurch of Joel Osteen and started shooting with a rifle Sunday and was killed by two off-duty officers.

14 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

California sues over ‘forever chemicals’ that taint water