New Hampshire has filed two lawsuits against eight major chemical companies, including 3M and Dupont, to recover damages and costs resulting from production and sale of four different synthetic per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) and related consumer products. The state is relying on its sovereign authorities to file the lawsuits on behalf of the public, alleging that the companies knew for decades that the chemicals were toxic and persistent in the environment and that they should be held responsible for all resulting environmental damages. My previous article on the legal challenges of emerging contaminants provides additional background.
Both lawsuits were filed in state court on May 29, 2019, and address all aspects of the state’s PFAS problem. Three chemical manufacturers — 3M, Dupont and Chemours – are targeted in both actions. They manufactured both the chemicals themselves and consumer products like Teflon that have allegedly contaminated groundwater and other state resources. The state also claims that Dupont fraudulently transferred its environmental liabilities to Chemours in order to avoid exposing its assets to plaintiffs like the state.
Five other companies that manufactured PFAS-containing firefighting foam, called Aqueous Film-Forming Foam, are also targeted in one the lawsuits. The foam was used to train firefighters and the PFAS allegedly seeped into the ground and contaminated drinking water at Pease and in other areas.
About the Author: Maureen D. Smith
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