Arizona sues major chemical companies over water contamination
May 31, 2023, 4:05 AM | Updated: 11:48 am
PHOENIX – Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes announced Tuesday she has filed a lawsuit against manufacturers of products that contain per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a class of man-made chemical compounds causing widespread pollution of the state’s groundwater. Defendants include 3M, DuPont and others.
Mayes said the companies have known for decades the chemicals would contaminate water supplies for generations to come but chose to sell their products anyway.
Arizona joins several states and hundreds of cities around the U.S. to file similar lawsuits, seeking damages to pay for the costs of removing the so-called “forever chemicals” from their drinking water.
“The failure by these polluters to inform the state about the risks associated with these chemicals has harmed our environment and the health of Arizonans – and they must be held accountable,” Mayes said in the press release.
The lawsuit was filed last week in Maricopa County and it alleges PFAS compounds used in various industrial and consumer products contaminated the environment and present an ongoing public health risk.
One of those products includes fire-fighting foam and when used as directed by the manufacturers, the products release PFAS into the environment, cause soil and water contamination, and bioaccumulate in humans and animals. PFAS compounds do not break down in the environment and will remain for decades unless clean-up efforts, the release stated.
The suit also alleges manufacturers knew of these risks but did not inform state regulators, users, or consumers of the hazards posed by using these products as directed.
In March 2023, the EPA announced proposed federal drinking water standards of 4.0 parts per trillion for PFOA and PFOS. The two compounds have been associated with human health risks possibly including cancer, liver damage and decreased fertility.
“This is an important step to improve and protect Arizona’s water quality for decades to come. We applaud Attorney General Kris Mayes and Governor Katie Hobbs for prioritizing access to safe and clean water, which supports ADEQ’s ongoing work to assist public water systems in identifying issues and developing solutions,” Karen Peters, the Director of Arizona’s Department of Environmental Quality said in the press release.