3M and the city of Stuart in Florida are reportedly making substantial progress in settling a lawsuit related to water pollution caused by toxic “forever chemicals.” As a result, they have requested a trial delay, as stated in a court filing on Sunday. The trial, which was scheduled to take place in a federal court in South Carolina, involves the city of Stuart accusing 3M of manufacturing PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) despite knowing the associated health risks for several decades, including cancer and other illnesses.
According to the filing submitted to the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina Charleston Division, the parties involved believe that their time would be better spent trying to reach a resolution, as they are making significant progress towards that goal. Neither 3M nor the city’s lawyers have commented on the matter thus far.
The lawsuit, initiated by the city of Stuart in 2018, alleges that 3M’s production or sale of firefighting foams containing PFAS led to contamination of the local soil and groundwater. The city sought over $100 million for filtration and remediation efforts. This case is one among more than 4,000 lawsuits consolidated in federal court in South Carolina, involving 3M and other chemical companies, filed by municipalities, state governments, and individuals.
The request for a trial delay comes shortly after Chemours Co, DuPont de Nemours Inc, and Corteva Inc announced an agreement in principle to settle claims of PFAS contamination of U.S. public water systems for $1.19 billion. Additionally, in December, 3M had declared its decision to cease PFAS production by 2025 due to increased legal and regulatory scrutiny.
There have been reports that 3M is nearing a potential $10 billion settlement with U.S. cities and towns regarding PFAS water pollution lawsuits, as mentioned by Bloomberg News. However, Reuters has not been able to independently verify this information.
PFAS, often referred to as “forever chemicals,” are persistent in the human body and the environment, making them difficult to break down. They are used in various products such as non-stick cookware and cosmetics, but have been linked to cancer, hormonal disruption, and environmental harm.