California sues manufacturers of Toxic Forever Chemicals including 3M and DuPont

The Attorney General of California, Rob Bonta has sued the manufacturers of Toxic Forever Chemicals on the grounds that these chemicals harm public health. Bonta has filed a lawsuit against these manufacturers stating that these chemicals are responsible for causing irreparable damage to natural resources while misleading the public. The lawsuit particularly targeted the manufacturers of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances which are also known as PFAS. Attorney General Bonta mentioned in his lawsuit that these manufacturers including 3M and Dupont were aware of the fact that PFAS are extremely damaging to humans and natural resources still they continued the mass production of such substances, thus deceiving the public. He further stated that due to the negligence of these companies, these toxic forever chemicals are now present in all natural resources and places of California and the bloodstream of almost every Californian. 

Thousands of chemicals come under the PFAS chemicals family. PFAS chemicals are widely used in various industries. It is particularly used in the production of consumer products such as food packaging materials, kitchenware, cooking utensils, fabrics, paints, and many more. 3M has manufactured PFOS since the 1940s which is used to create firefighting foams used by defense agencies against fire. PFOS was phased out by these agencies later in the early 2000s. PFAS chemicals are referred to as toxic forever chemicals because of their resistance to natural degradation. These chemicals stay as such for extremely long periods and continue to contaminate the environment. Because of this, these chemicals enter the groundwater and from there into the people’s bloodstream. The lawsuit has mentioned around seven different PFOS which are found inside the drinking water supplies. These seven PFOS includes perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA), perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA).

Almost all Californians have been found to contain some amount of PFAS in their bloodstream. The researchers have said that along with the contaminated water, humans can also get exposed to PFAS through contaminated air, water, soil, or food, or by using products that are made using PFAS. Because of this, people who used to live nearby the defense bases or firefighters' areas where the firefighting foam was used, are more likely to be exposed to dangerous levels of PFAS at some point in their lives. Many research studies have pointed out the hazardous effects which PFAS can have on humans. Exposure to PFAS contaminants in kids and pregnant women can produce developmental defects in babies. In other age groups, PFAS can damage several vital organs such as the liver, kidney, testicular, breast, and pancreas, and can even induce prostate cancer. Along with this, it can cause adversity in pregnancy, can affect bone development in kids, and can adversely damage their immune systems. 

The lawsuit stated that the manufacturers of PFAS and products including PFAS were aware of the potential toxicity of these chemicals, but still chose to ignore them. 3M and DuPont have been testing the adverse properties of PFAS since the 1950s. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, these companies found out about PFAS characteristics and these being toxic forever chemicals, but still did not report it publicly. DuPont publicly stated in 2003 that the company has not found any potential health risks of PFAS and also that these chemicals are in no way a threat to human health.