Read the full article by Tom Perkins (The Guardian)

“Investors from some of the world’s largest firms are pressuring chemical companies to end production of toxic PFAS ‘forever chemicals’, which shareholders say represent an enormous and growing threat to manufacturers’ bottom lines.

PFAS are a class of about 12,000 compounds typically used to make products resist water, stains and heat. They are called ‘forever chemicals’ because they do not naturally break down, and are linked to cancer, kidney disease, liver problems, immune disorders, birth defects and other serious health issues.

A letter circulated late last year and signed by largely European Union investment firms holding $8tn in assets cites a tsunami of recent litigation brought against PFAS manufacturers, ever-increasing regulation that imposes strict limits on the chemicals’ use, and the compounds’ public health threat.

Liability for PFAS contamination ‘of the entire planet is expanding’, said Erik Olson, a senior strategic director with the non-profit National Resources Defense Council. The letter was made public ahead of a decision by 3M, one of the world’s largest PFAS manufacturers, to discontinue making the chemicals by the end of 2025.

‘There has got to be concern in boardrooms and among knowledgeable and savvy shareholders that continuing to manufacture these chemicals that are creating the Superfund sites of tomorrow is really risky for them financially,’ Olson added. ‘If people getting sick and dying of exposure to these chemicals wasn’t enough, the liability should be.’

Among the 47 investors signing on to the letter are Axa, Credit Suisse, Robeco, Aviva and Storebrand, and the letter was circulated among 54 chemical companies. The investors are demanding industry develop a plan to end their manufacture and share production data with ChemSec, a non-profit that tracks the chemical industry.” …