Read the full article by Wallace McKelvey (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

“One of Pennsylvania’s largest water utilities has sued 3M, DuPont and a host of other companies, alleging they knew — or should have known — that so-called ‘forever chemicals’ they manufactured and distributed posed a hazard to the public.

The lawsuit, filed by Pennsylvania American Water, is seeking compensation for its ongoing cost to treat drinking water supplies across the state that have been tainted by toxic per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (or PFAS for short) that have been linked to a variety of birth defects, cancers and other health effects.

‘Defendants distributed, handled, discharged and were otherwise responsible for the release of PFAS into the environment without sufficient containment for caution,’ the filing reads.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is still developing standards for handling the chemicals, which was commonly found in firefighting foam, heat- and water-resistant materials and non-stick cookware. It set a 70 parts per trillion limit on PFAS chemicals in drinking water but that’s a health advisory, not a regulation that has the force of law.

Sean Lynch, a spokesman for 3M, said the company ‘will vigorously defend its record of environmental stewardship,’ noting that the company has spent $200 to remediate areas where it manufactured or disposed of PFAS materials.

Spokespeople for DuPont and PA American Water did not respond to requests for comment.

Until recently, PFAS were not routinely monitored in drinking water supplies, but as awareness grows, more and more water companies are testing for them and installing additional filtration equipment to remove them.

PFAS are most commonly found in water supplies around airports, firefighting training grounds and military bases — including Harrisburg International Airport and Naval Support Activity Mechanicsburg — but they’ve been detected far from the original source of contamination…”