Michigan files lawsuit against 17 defendants for PFAS contamination

Michigan Attorney Geneal Dana Nessel speaks at a news conference on Feb. 21, 2019. (WDIV)

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Washtenaw County Circuit Court against 17 defendants for damages and injury to the state caused by contamination caused by PFAS.

READ: What is ‘PFAS’ and how can it affect your health? Here’s what you should know

The lawsuit is the first legal action taken by Michigan against PFAS manufacturers. The lawsuit accuses 17 defendants of deliberately concealing the dangers of PFAS and withholding scientific evidence. It also accuses them of intentionally selling, distributing, releasing, transporting, supplying, and handling used PFAS in a way that they knew would contaminate natural resources and expose Michigan residents to them.

A list of defendants is below:

  • Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Co. – a/k/a 3M
  • DuPont, including its historic corporate self/identity/entity, as well as its post-merger-and-spinoff self – DuPont de Nemours Inc., a/k/a “New DuPont”
  • The Chemours Co., a spinoff of DuPont, and its subsidiary (The Chemours Co. FC LLX)
  • Corteva Inc., another DuPont spinoff which was part of Defendant Dow DuPont
  • Dyneon LLC
  • Archroma entities
  • Arkema entities
  • AGC Chemicals Americas Inc.
  • Daikin Industries entities
  • Solvay Specialty Polymers, USA LLC
  • Asahi Kasei Plastics North America Inc.

“We bring this action today on behalf of the people of Michigan,” Nessel said. “It is our responsibility to protect our residents and our state’s natural resources and property by preventing and abating hazards to public health, safety, welfare and the environment – and by placing the responsibility for this massive undertaking with those responsible for creating the problem.”

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants knew, or should have known, that PFAS do not degrade, would accumulate, and are potential or confirmed carcinogens. It also alleges that the defendants knew continued manufacture and use of PFAS would inevitably result in continued and increased levels of PFAS getting into the environment and into people’s bodies.

“Since taking office, I’ve been deliberate and focused on protecting our Great Lakes and cleaning up our drinking water,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said. “Michigan has been established as a national leader in identifying, monitoring and addressing contamination caused by PFAS. As such, we must continue to protect communities all across our state from harmful PFAS chemicals by holding polluters accountable. Future generations of Michiganders are counting on us to get to work today.”

Exposure to PFAS is correlated with the following health effects:

  • Decreased fertility
  • Pregnancy induced hypertension and/or preeclampsia
  • Liver damage
  • Thyroid disease
  • Problems with cholesterol levels
  • Immune system problems
  • Increased likelihood of cancer, especially kidney and testicular cancers

“Without widespread action to investigate, remediate and restore the resources in Michigan impacted by PFAS contamination, the presence and migration of PFAS in our state’s natural resources and property will continue unchecked and indefinitely, threatening natural resources, property and our residents,” Nessel said. “We are committed to ensuring that the companies responsible for unleashing PFAS on our state will stand up to their legal obligations and responsibilities. Their reprehensible conduct demands Gov. Whitmer and I take every legal and regulatory action necessary to protect the people and natural resources of our state.”

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