WI Web Staff
D.C. Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb announced a lawsuit against 25 chemical companies for manufacturing, marketing, distributing, and selling products containing dangerous PFAS (per-and poly fluoroalkyl) chemicals that presently pollute the District’s natural resources.
Among the companies in the suit filed July 18 are 3M and DuPont De Nemours. The OAG alleges that as early as the 1950s, the litigated chemical companies knew the PFAS substances they manufacture posed significant health and environmental risks but hid the information from the public and government regulators.
The complaint also says that despite knowing the products were associated with serious health effects, including risks for cancer and birth defects, the defendant companies falsely maintained that their products were safe.
“Today, we’re suing dozens of companies that profited from producing, selling, and distributing dangerous PFAS chemicals that now pollute D.C.’s waterways and natural resources,” Schwalb said. “Compounding their illegal conduct, these companies for decades misled the public about the health and safety threats they knew the products posed. The District and its residents will be forced to deal with the adverse impacts of these ‘forever chemicals’ for years to come. Through this lawsuit, we will hold polluters accountable for the damage their conduct has caused and will continue to cause.”
PFAS chemicals are man-made and have been used by the military and at airports for fighting liquid-based fires like those from jet fuel. PFAS have been dubbed “forever chemicals” because they do not readily break down and when leaked in public can cause widespread contamination.
As a result of the lawsuit, the OAG seeks to recover all costs necessary to fully investigate and clean up PFAS contamination in the District’s natural resources and waterways; monitor and treat PFAS in the city’s stormwater discharges, and monitor and treat PFAS in drinking water, wastewater, and biosolids. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that the defendants also long covered up their knowledge of PFAS’s harmful effects, the District also seeks other damages, including punitive damages.