3M has entered into a broad class agreement to resolve claims from public water suppliers by committing up to $10.3 billion, payable over 13 years, to support remediation of PFAS chemicals in drinking water nationwide.
The agreement, which is subject to court approval, would resolve current and future drinking water claims related to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), and all other PFAS, including aqueous film forming foam (AFFF), a fire suppressant that is the subject of multidistrict litigation before federal Judge Richard Gergel in South Carolina.
PFAS are used in the manufacture of many products in modern life, including medical technologies, semiconductors, batteries, phones, automobiles, and airplanes. PFAS are added to consumer and industrial products to make them resistant to heat, water, oil and corrosion.
The settlement agreement will pay public water systems that have already detected PFAS in their water, pay the costs of testing for those that have not yet tested, and will provide funds to those that find PFAS after testing.
“This is an important step forward for 3M, which builds on our actions that include our announced exit of PFOA and PFOS manufacturing more than 20 years ago, our more recent investments in state-of-the-art water filtration technology in our chemical manufacturing operations, and our announcement that we will exit all PFAS manufacturing by the end of 2025,” said 3M chairman and CEO Mike Roman.
The agreement is not an admission of liability, and if the court does not approve the terms, 3M is prepared to continue to defend itself in the litigation, the company said in a press statement on Thursday. 3M will continue to address other PFAS litigation by defending itself in court or through negotiated resolutions, all as appropriate, the company said.