Rising Tide of Lawsuits Over 'Forever Chemicals' Reportedly Predicted In 2024, Legal Landscape Altered By $11B Settlements In 2023

Chemours Co. -3.00%
CORTEVA INC -4.78%
E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company -3.20%
3M Company -2.01%

Chemours Co.

CC

26.48

-3.00%

CORTEVA INC

CTVA

53.76

-4.78%

E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company

DD

73.80

-3.20%

3M Company

MMM

91.31

-2.01%

In 2023, lawsuits targeting major chemical companies over PFAS contamination in U.S. drinking water resulted in settlements surpassing $11 billion

The lawsuits, involving 3M Co (NYSE:MMM), The Chemours Co (NYSE:CC), Corteva Inc (NYSE:CTVA), and DuPont de Nemours Inc (NYSE:DD), are poised to grow due to anticipated federal regulations and increasing awareness of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination.

Often termed "forever chemicals," PFAS compounds resist breakdown in the environment and the human body. They're ubiquitous in numerous products like firefighting foams, non-stick pans, and cosmetics. Recognizing their threat, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has tightened regulations on PFAS, emphasizing its urgency for public health and the environment.

The lawsuits, consolidated in a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in South Carolina federal court, span multiple fronts. Water utilities seek compensation for cleanup, individuals claim health issues due to PFAS exposure, and consumer class actions target PFAS-containing products, Reuters reported. 

Settlements of $10.3 billion and $1.19 billion were reached between the companies and water utilities in June, highlighting the scale of the issue.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel warned that these lawsuits could be an existential threat to accused companies, as per the report. The potential liabilities might drive defendants to settle or seek bankruptcy protection, as seen with Kidde-Fenwal Inc.'s bankruptcy due to PFAS liabilities.

With PFAS found in the blood of 97% of Americans, the pool of potential plaintiffs is significant. According to the report, legal experts anticipate more lawsuits in 2024, targeting consumer brands and emphasizing personal injury claims.

Disclaimer: This content was partially produced with the help of AI tools and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

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