New Hampshire is the latest state to file a lawsuit against Dupont and 3M and a number of other companies. The state is suing the companies over their responsibility for the drinking water contamination crisis, impacting millions of people across the US. The lawsuit was announced on Wednesday, May 29.
The lawsuit says that the contaminated water is the result of the manufacture and use of perfluorinated chemicals, a group of more than 4,000 compounds collectively known as PFAS.
The lawsuits say that the companies “failed to warn of the dangers of their products,” and they knew when the compounds were released into the environment they “would make groundwater and surface water unfit for drinking.”
PFAS are used to manufacture a number of products, especially anything meant to be heat resistant or non-stick. Most well known of the group of chemicals is PFOA, a perfluorinated chemical that is used to make Teflon non-stick coatings. PFOA is also used to make clothing waterproof.
PFOS, another kind of PFAS, is the main ingredient used in firefighting foam, have caused widespread contamination of water around military bases, airports, and training facilities for firefighters.
PFOS have been found in the groundwater or drinking water at 126 military bases so far.
PFAS are detectable in the blood of virtually everyone. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found PFOA in the blood of nearly every person tested.
Companies like DuPont and 3M knew about the negative health effects, but failed to warn the public.
Studies link elevated exposure to PFAS to cancer, infertility, and developmental delays. One study found that young men living close to a PFAS site in Veneto, Italy had smaller penises and lower sperm counts.
Lawsuits for people exposed to water contaminated by PFAS have come up in Colorado, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania. A nationwide lawsuit was filed last year.