Attorney General Aaron Frey announced today the filing of two lawsuits against manufacturers of per- and polyfluoroakyl substances or “PFAS” and PFAS-containing products. The complaints allege that the manufacturers, DuPont and 3M, among others, have known for decades that PFAS pose serious risks to human health and the environment, but instead promoted their PFAS products as safe and appropriate for widespread use in Maine. The suits allege that the defendant manufacturers knew of the science of PFAS toxicity decades ago but concealed that information from the public and continued to manufacture, sell and profit from their products containing these chemicals.
“The defendant manufacturers have willfully introduced toxic chemicals into Maine’s environment in pursuit of profit for shareholders,” said Attorney General Frey. “Maine citizens and the State are left to manage the harm these chemicals cause in our natural resources, our animals, our food, and our bodies, and the State is working overtime to manage the fallout. PFAS manufacturers must account for the environmental, health and economic damage caused by their actions.
The two actions filed in the Superior Court in Cumberland County will seek to recover all costs to investigate, clean up, restore, treat, monitor and otherwise respond to the contamination of Maine’s natural resources. The State has also asked the Court to void certain corporate transactions between DuPont and its affiliates designed to insulate DuPont from PFAS-related liabilities.
“PFAS contamination threatens the health of our people, our wildlife, our environment, and our future. My Administration, working closely with the Legislature, has spearheaded one of the strongest efforts in the nation to address PFAS, but more work remains – particularly holding accountable the large manufacturers responsible for this serious problem,” said Governor Janet Mills. “Evidence indicates that, for many years, DuPont, 3M and the other defendant manufacturers knew that PFAS posed serious risks to human health and the environment but hid that knowledge from the public while they lined their pockets at our expense. We will defend the people of Maine in the face of this recklessness. I applaud Attorney General Frey for pursuing this litigation, and my Administration will continue to work closely with him to protect the health of our state and our citizens.”
PFAS are highly toxic and have been shown to accumulate in people and other living organisms. They cause a wide array of harmful health effects, including cancer, thyroid disruption, ulcerative colitis, liver and kidney disease and developmental and systemic disorders. The chemicals do not biodegrade, earning them the nickname “forever chemicals.”
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