Minnesota Files New Environmental Contamination Claims Against 3M

In a request to update a $5 billion lawsuit against 3M Co., Minnesota’s State Attorney General stated that chemicals used for Scotchgard, fire retardants, and other products manufactured by the company have been linked to cancers and premature births. Minnesota initially sued in state court for natural-resource damages in 2010, and is now seeking punitive damages as well.

“We believe the state’s case lacks merit,” William A. Brewer III, a lawyer for 3M, said in a statement. “The case is based on the mistaken belief that the mere presence of these chemicals presents harm to human health and the environment. Most importantly, 3M believes these chemicals present no harm at the levels they are observed in Minnesota.”

Minnesota’s court filing cited research that found fertility and birth outcomes in the suburbs east of St. Paul (where 3M dumped chemicals PFOS and PFOA for more than 40 years) were lower than in other Minnesotan communities. The analysis also noted a statistically significant increase in certain cancers associated with the chemicals, including leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, compared with the rest of Minnesota.

The trial is scheduled for February 13, 2018.

Source: Bloomberg, November 20, 2017.