January 14th, 2020

Over the last few years, PFAS has become a central focus of environmental policy in Michigan both because of the length of time it can stay in the environment and its harmful and serious health impacts such as liver damage and increased likelihood of cancers. It is commonly found in  firefighting foam used by airports, military bases and firefighters as well as household items that create non-stick surfaces, like Scotchgard, Teflon and food wrappers. Due to several manufacturers displaying a lack of responsibility in the manufacturing and safety disclosures for these chemicals, this contaminant has been making its way into Michigan’s drinking water. As a response to this behavior, Governor Whitmer signed on to AG Nessel’s lawsuit against 17 individual companies, including 3M and DuPont, who have been some of the worst offenders of PFAS discharge into the environment. This is the first legal action on behalf of Michigan residents against PFAS contamination.

In the lawsuit, AG Nessel claims the 17 defendants harmed the health of Michigan residents by concealing the dangers of PFAS and knowingly using PFAS and PFAS-containing materials that would eventually contaminate natural resources and expose the public to harm. The complaint states the 17 companies knew, or should have known, these chemicals would persist in the environment for a long period of time and become concentrated inside plants and animals. The suit also states the companies should have been aware of the potential or confirmed carcinogenic effects of these “forever chemicals,” and that the continued production of PFAS would increase levels in the environment and people’s bodies.

We thank Governor Whitmer for supporting AG Nessel as she defends the public health of millions of Michigan residents by holding bad actors accountable who contaminate Michigan’s environment.