Chemical Companies Agree to Pay $1.2B Over Forever Chemical Lawsuits

It's unlikely to be the last settlement of its kind

Waste in a marsh
Waste is found dumped at a marsh near the mouth of Neshaminy Creek to the Delaware river in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on February 6, 2019.
Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

If you’ve been paying attention to coverage of PFAS — also known as “forever chemicals” — you’re probably aware that scientists have been finding them nearly everywhere. PFAS are toxic and have been linked to cancer, infertility and asthma, among other conditions. And, as their nickname suggests, they’re incredibly difficult to remove from the environment.

And now, a trio of large chemical companies have agreed to a $1.2 billion settlement over lawsuits connected to forever chemicals in drinking water. The New York Times reports that Chemours, DuPont and Corteva have agreed in principle to allocate the money in question to remove PFAS from drinking water. That said, while this would address some ongoing lawsuits directed at those three firms, the Times points out that it would not resolve all of them.

Chemours, DuPont and Corteva are also not the only companies being sued over forever chemicals in drinking water; so is 3M, who — according to the Times — is also nearing a settlement of their own.

Earlier this year, the Biden administration proposed limitations on PFAS. In their coverage of the announcement, CNBC noted that this would represent the first attempt on a national level to regulate forever chemicals in drinking water — and could result in better detection of the chemicals in water systems around the country. Given that PFAS have been used for decades, this is an issue that doesn’t have a quick solution.

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