Court authorizes 3M agreement to pay 12.5 billion for water pollution – La Opinion

Court authorizes 3M agreement to pay 12.5 billion for water pollution – La Opinion


A US court today approved the agreement reached by industrial giant 3M to pay $12.5 billion to public water suppliers (PWS) throughout the country for contaminating the waters with the so-called “eternal chemicals.”

The agreement, which had already been agreed with 3M and the PWS companies, was signed today by a court in Charleston (South Carolina), and establishes that payments will come from this amount to those suppliers who have detected perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). “or they may detect them in the future,” as the company announced in a statement.

The payments will cover a period of 13 years (until 2036), and the agreed amount results from adding the compensation amounts that the company will have to face after recognizing its role in the creation of these practically everlasting chemicals.

Payments will begin to be made in the third quarter of this year, and the commitment includes stopping manufacturing PFAS in 2025.

PFAS are a collection of about 4,700 synthetic chemical agents that accumulate in humans and in the environment and can cause health problems such as liver damage, thyroid disease, obesity, fertility problems and cancer, according to the European Environment Agency.

The 3M company has been involved in scandals over PFAS contamination also in Europe: in 2021an activist and the environmental organization Greenpeace showed that there were extremely high levels of “forever chemicals” around a factory of that same company in Zwijndrecht, near Antwerp (north), with values ​​26 times higher than those accepted.

A year later, the company reached an amicable agreement with the authorities for 571 million euros to decontaminate the soil and control the potential spread of chemicals.

There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can cause harmful effects to human health. If humans, or animals, ingest PFA.

PFAS are absorbed and can accumulate in the body and remain in the human body for a long time. Therefore, as people become exposed to PFAS from different sources over time.

PFAS are human-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products around the world since the 1940s.. They have been used to make nonstick cookware; waterproof clothing; stain resistant fabrics and rugs; some cosmetics; some firefighting foams; and products resistant to grease, water and oil.

Studies in laboratory animals indicate that they may cause adverse effects on the reproductive and immune systems, as well as development, and organs such as the liver and kidneys. Both chemical agents have caused tumors in animal studies.

The most consistent findings from human epidemiology studies are higher cholesterol levels in exposed people, with more limited data related to: low birth weight, effects on the immune system, cancer, and thyroid hormone disturbance.

The compounds have been detected at various levels in drinking water across the country. In March, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed strict limits on two common types, PFOA and PFOS, and said it wanted to regulate four others. Water suppliers would be responsible for monitoring their systems for chemicals.

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