Read the full article by Deena Winter (Iowa Capital Dispatch)
“3M announced Tuesday that it will stop manufacturing a group of chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) and work to stop using the chemicals in its products by the end of 2025.
The company nets about $1.3 billion annually from the chemical sales — a fraction of its overall revenue, at 3.7%.
The Maplewood company has made the so-called ‘forever chemicals’ — called that because they accumulate in the human body and environment — in Minnesota since the 1950s.
They’ve been used to make coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water such as Scotchgard stain repellent, Teflon cookware, fast food wrapping and fire retardants.
While 3M has stopped making some types of PFAS, it still makes others in its Cottage Grove, Minn., plant as well as Cordova, Ill., Decatur, Ala., Zwijndrecht, Belgium, and Gendorf, Germany.
Making the chemicals produced millions of gallons of wet industrial waste in Minnesota, which 3M dumped in unlined landfills, polluting groundwater in the East Metro. The company’s chemical history was the subject of a two-part Minnesota Reformer special report last week.
3M said in a press release that its decision was based on careful consideration of ‘the evolving external landscape, including multiple factors such as accelerating regulatory trends focused on reducing or eliminating the presence of PFAS in the environment and changing stakeholder expectations.’
‘This is a moment that demands the kind of innovation 3M is known for,’ 3M chief executive officer Mike Roman said in the release. ‘While PFAS can be safely made and used, we also see an opportunity to lead in a rapidly evolving external regulatory and business landscape to make the greatest impact for those we serve.’
Attorney Robert Bilott won a landmark 2004 settlement with DuPont over that company’s use of 3M chemicals, which polluted farmland near its Teflon plant in West Virginia. He said in a statement that the company’s decision to stop ‘spewing’ the chemicals into the world is decades overdue.
And, he said, it ‘has come only after the truth of what 3M has long known about the harm that these toxins pose was revealed to the world through litigation by the innocent victims of this massive cover-up.’
The company said it will exit all PFAS manufacturing by the end of 2025 and stop manufacturing all fluoropolymers, fluorinated fluids, and PFAS-based additive products. 3M said it will fulfill current contractual obligations during the transition.” …