Manufacturing Giant 3M Says It Will Stop Making PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ by 2026

The image shows 3M's headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota. The state sued the company for water pollution in 2010 and won an $850 million settlement in 2018 -- just one of many lawsuits 3M has faced over PFAS.

megaManufacturer 3M that makes all of From adhesive tape to medical masks to electronic components, it said it will end all production of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) by the end of 2025 a press statement published Monday. The announcement follows several complain and Requests linked to pollution the company’s facilities, which cost $3 million billion and rising.

In addition to promising to “stop all PFAS manufacturing by the end of 2025,” 3M also said it is “working to phase out the use of PFAS across our entire product portfolio” during the same timeframe. In other words, the company has definitely stated that it will stop manufacturing the chemicals and less definitely said, it will To attempt to stop using PFAS compounds in its products. Note that this theoretically leaves room for 3M to source and continue to use PFAS from elsewhere in the many items it produces.

The company did not directly respond to most of Gizmodo’s questions about the scope and details of its PFAS moratorium. However, by email3M speaker Carolyn La Violette wrote“We have already reduced our use of PFAS over the last three years through continuous research and development and will continue to develop new solutions for customers.”

la violet declined to answer Gizmodo’s questions about what compounds 3M might use substitute PFAS. More than 20 years ago, the companies expire developed a specific subset of PFAS known as PFOS and replaced those chemicals with those currently in use shorter-chain molecules. Eventually, research found that these were smaller Substitute chemicals were no less dangerous (and possibly worse) than theirs Predecessor.

Possible loopholes and other risks aside3M phasing out PFAS is still a big deal. Other corporate giants that have used PFAS in the past, like some Fast food chain and clothing manufacturer, also recently pledged to end their use of the chemicals. But 3M doesn’t just use PFAS; it does the stuff.

The company was one of the first to develop and use PFAS chemicals in 1950Since then, the extremely durable compounds have been widely used in non-stick coatings, flame retardants, food packaging, cosmetics, furniture and more due to their water, oil and grease repellency. Yet, PFAS pose a hazard for the environment and human health.

PFAS are commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” because of their extreme stability over time. They don’t break down naturally in the environment or in our bodies – instead, they accumulate and cause a mountain of problems. Scientific Studies have found links between PFAS and several cancers, immunodeficiency, high cholesterol, liver disease, delayed infant development, birth defects and pregnancy complications. And it’s not just people who do get sick when PFAS are around. Research has shown that other animals – from alligators to cattle— suffer from similar adverse health effects from the chemicals.

Unfortunately, avoiding the connections is almost impossible thanks to more than 70 years of industrial performance. PFAS load is actually everywhereand since is not yet a failsafe way to remove them from our water and our air.

All this scientific revelations about the harm of PFAS and the difficulty of cleaning them up have led to increasing regulatory pressure, complainand the control of the companies that produce and use the chemicals, including 3M. Several European countries have considered a total PFAS ban. Within the US, the EPA is issued an updated health guide for PFAS earlier this year, which effectively explains this There is no safe level the chemical in drinking water. In November, the Environment Agency 3M ordered to test and clean the waters near his Cordova, Illinois Factory.

In one notable 2010 case against 3M, the Attorney General of Minnesota sued the company via pollution associated with its facilities throughout the state where 3M is headquartered. Many people in communities near 3M factories, like Oakdalebelieve the pollution of their water supply contributed a local spike in cancer cases and other health issues for residents. The company has publicly denied any guiltand scientific reviews of Oakdale have come to different conclusions whether or not the city’s residents suffer from statistically significantly increased rates of cancer. However, in 2018, 3M reached an agreement with Minnesota $850 million.

TThe company has faced thousands of lawsuits related to PFAS. OOngoing cases include a lawsuit from the California AG and a consolidated, inter-district case on firefighting foam could leave the company hanging for more than $30 billion in damages a report by Bloomberg Law. Compare that to that $1.3 to $2.3 billion that the company’s own analysis says that cutting out PFAS can cost it.

Ultimately, leaving chemicals in the past forever is nothing more than wise financial tactics for 3M. “Our decision is based on an assessment of the evolving external landscape, including regulatory changes and interest in the market for alternatives to PFAS,” la violet wrote to Gizmodo.

Even so, the announcement step towards a safer and healthier world, showing that the persistent efforts of scientists, environmental activists and legal experts have made a real difference. PFAS is no longer profitable.

For now says 3M It will continue to manufacture PFAS as the company “intends to meet ongoing contractual obligations during the transition period.” But in three years, a chapter of the “Forever” saga could finally end.

https://gizmodo.com/3m-stop-manufacturing-pfas-forever-chemicals-1849915091 Manufacturing Giant 3M Says It Will Stop Making PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ by 2026

Zack Zwiezen

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