3M agrees to pay $98M to resolve suits over ‘forever’ chemicals

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3M environmental group agreed to resolve lawsuit by Tennessee Riverkeeper and a separate class action by residents of Alabama’s Morgan County

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New York – Industrial Group 3M CO On Tuesday it said it had agreed to pay about $98.4 million to settle claims that the Tennessee River was contaminated with toxic chemicals.

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3M environmental group agreed to resolve a lawsuit by Tennessee Riverkeepers and a separate class action by residents of Alabama’s Morgan County. It also negotiated a private agreement with Morgan County, the city of Decatur, where 3M’s local facility is based, and Decatur’s utility provider.

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All three agreements cover the manufacture and disposal of 3M of polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, at the Decatur industrial site in Morgan County.

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The settlements come a day after the Environmental Protection Agency said it would set limits on PFAS, which scientists have linked to diseases such as kidney cancer.

PFAS have been dubbed “forever chemicals” because they do not break down easily. They have been used for decades in household products such as non-stick cookware.

The agreements are subject to final approval, 3M said in a statement. The company did not admit to wrongdoing.

3M’s Decatur site director, Michelle Howell, said in a statement that she expects the deals to “strengthen Decatur for the foreseeable future.”

The Tennessee Riverkeeper called the agreement “just a start” in a statement.

Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling said in a statement that the agreement will “fund improvements that will make the environment healthier in Decatur and Morgan Counties.”


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