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28 Nov 2019

Keshia Clukey, Bloomberg Law

USA: New York state sues Chemours, Dupont, 3M for alleged contamination of drinking water by toxic substances

"N.Y. Sues Chemours, DuPont, 3M over PFAS Contamination," 5 Nov 2019

New York state’s attorney general is suing The Chemours Co., 3M Co., DuPont de Nemours Inc. and other companies for their alleged role in making and selling persistent chemicals that are environmental contaminants.

The lawsuit, filed in state Supreme Court in Albany by the office of Attorney General Letitia James, claims toxic substances in the manufacturers’ products, specifically foam used for firefighting, threatened public health and damaged the state’s natural resources...

The aqueous film-forming foam, known as AFFF, contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, including PFOS, a type of PFAS commonly found in contamination from the use of firefighting foam...

New York’s legal actions follows on the heels of similar lawsuits against chemical makers from other states, including New Jersey, New Hampshire, and North Carolina...

Ralph A. DeMeo, who represents businesses in other PFAS legal action, said the state’s case could prompt more litigation elsewhere...

New York state’s Nov. 4 complaint also names Tyco Fire Products LP, Chemguard Inc., Buckeye Fire Equipment Co., National Foam Inc., Kidde-Fenwal Inc., Amerex Corp., and Fire Service Plus Inc.

“3M acted responsibly in connection with its manufacture and sale of AFFF (aqueous film-forming foam) and will vigorously defend its record of environmental stewardship,” the company said in an emailed statement. 

Chemours hasn’t yet reviewed the lawsuit, but it “has never manufactured, formulated or sold firefighting foam,” the company said in a statement. “We have never manufactured or used PFOS at any of our sites. Furthermore, Chemours has never made or sold PFOA as a commercial product, or used PFOA as a processing aid.”

The companies also should have known that the products dissolve easily in water, have long shelf lives, and tend to bioaccumulate in the blood, meaning they can build up and stay in the blood of the general population, according to the complaint.