The 3M PFAS lawsuit is one of the environmental class actions to watch in 2020. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals used in products like Teflon cookware, microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes, outdoor equipment, Scotchgard stain protectants on carpets and upholstery, Gore-Tex water-resistant shoes and clothing, polishes, waxes, paints, cleaning products, and firefighting foam. The Environmental Working Group has confirmed PFAS drinking water contamination at 328 military bases so far.
Scientific research in recent years suggests a link between these “forever chemicals” and a range of adverse health effects. Now hundreds of cities, states, and individuals are suing manufacturers like 3M for negligence, failure to warn, and production of a defective product that puts Americans in harm’s way. Litigators at Showard Law Firm are fielding calls regarding the 3M PFSA lawsuit and expect many more to follow.
What is the 3M PFAS Lawsuit All About?
The PFAS group of chemicals includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and others that have been used in a variety of industries around the globe since the 1940s. People are most commonly exposed to PFAS through food contamination from packaging materials, amounts accumulated in water and soil, and tainted equipment used in food processing plants.
Scientists have found PFOA and PFOS are persistent in the soil, drinking water, and the human body; instead of breaking down, the chemicals accumulate over time. Although eight major chemical manufacturers agreed to stop producing PFOA and PFOS, products made internationally can still be imported into the United States as rubber, plastics, packaging, paper, textiles, carpeting, leather, and apparel.
EPA research indicates that PFOA and PFOS can cause:
- Increased Risk of Preeclampsia and High Blood Pressure and Low Infant Birth Weights
- Reduced Resistance to Infectious Diseases and Decreased Vaccine Response in Children
- Changes in Liver Enzymes
- Increased Cholesterol Levels
- Increased Risk of Kidney Damage and Testicular Cancer
- Tumors and Cancer (PFOA)
- Thyroid Hormone Disruption (PFOS)
Animals have developed tumors, suffered developmental delays and birth defects, and died prematurely after exposure to PFAS.
Should You File A Water Contamination Lawsuit?
PFAS chemicals can survive in the ground for two to 10 years, causing dangerous levels of contamination in our fruits, vegetables, livestock, drinking water, and air. Ninety-nine percent of Americans have PFAS in their blood to some degree. It’s even been found in Polar Bears living in remote areas like the Arctic Circle.
Individuals suffering from adverse health effects are starting to question whether PFAS exposure could have played a role. Asking your doctor for a non-routine PFAS blood test can reveal the amount of chemicals in your blood at the time of the test, though it cannot tell you if PFAS has affected your health in the past or if it will in the future. However, you do not need to be sick to get involved in a PFAS water contamination lawsuit. By searching “PFAS contamination,” along with your city name, you can see if there is any local media attention worth investigating further.
Companies that manufacture and sell dangerous chemicals need to be held accountable for their negligence. Showard Law Firm provides free consultations to individuals worried about their environmental safety and health. Our Arizona-based law firm has the tenacity to take and pursue complex cases. Our contingency-fee model means clients pay nothing upfront to pursue a lawsuit and only pay a standard legal fee once we recover compensation. No matter your financial situation, you can afford top-quality legal representation.
Michigan PFAS Lawsuit and Others Were Decades in the Making
According to the Detroit Free Press, 3M whistleblowers accused the company of being “unethical” and “more concerned with markets, legal defensibility and image over environmental safety.” Insiders say PFAS products represent “the most insidious pollutant since PCB” – particularly because it is more toxic to wildlife and does not degrade. The explosive resignation letter from a disgruntled former consultant was just one of many incriminating internal 3M memos and documents. These were made public by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office after the company settled an $850 million lawsuit with the state in 2010.
Even as evidence surfaced that PFAS accumulated in lab animals, causing wide-ranging health effects, 3M continued to sell the dangerous compounds. Company studies dating back to 1950 showed toxicity in lab rats. Studies of fish, rats, and monkeys showed health concerns in the mid-1970s. Company officials found PFAS compounds in their employees’ blood tied to increased testicular cancer. By the 1980s, they noted the complete resistance to biodegradation. Upon noting the propensity to cause birth defects in rats, 3M moved 25 female employees “of childbearing potential” off production lines in Decatur, Alabama “as a precautionary measure.”
For generations, 3M withheld safety information from the Environmental Protection Agency and the public. Confidential, internal documents between 3M officials recommended “pleading ignorance” and trying to suggest the presence of surfactants in the bloodstream as a potentially “helpful health benefit” to improve arterial sclerosis or kidney blockage. They saw a benefit in conducting further animal studies along those lines, as this research could be useful “from a defensive point of view.”
$850 Million 3M PFAS Settlement Just the Tip of the Iceberg
The $850 million 3M agreed to pay Minnesota in 2010, and the $35 million paid to Alabama in 2019 are just the tip of the iceberg for what they’ll end up paying in the coming years. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has said the $700 million available to spend on clean drinking water and restoring damaged natural resources does not go far given the cost of water treatment plants and home filtration systems. The true cost could range up to $1.2 billion to operate and maintain treatments for the next 20 years.
3M is embroiled in over 187 PFAS lawsuits so far. In 2019, Alabama, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont filed class actions against 3M. The Michigan PFAS lawsuit filed in 2020 has advanced to the discovery phase. Analysts believe the company could end up paying $32 billion in product liability, litigation, and pollution-cleanup expenses.
Showard Law Firm Addresses Your Concerns About 3M PFAS Water
If you have any questions or concerns about 3M PFAS water, it costs nothing to speak with an attorney at Showard Law Firm. We have been following the developments of this evolving litigation and have extensive experience in high-profile, national class action lawsuits. Contact us for a free consultation.
- org, https://www.ewg.org/news-and-analysis/2020/04/updated-map-suspected-and-confirmed-pfas-pollution-us-military-bases#:~:text=Through%20Freedom%20of%20Information%20Act,continue%20to%20drink%20contaminated%20water.