California Sues Manufacturers of “Forever Chemicals”
PFAS are making headlines around the world. It seems like no matter what state you find yourself in, there is a manufacturing company nearby that has been dumping toxic chemicals into the water supply with blatant disregard for the well-being of families in the area. California is no exception, and the state recently sued several corporations operating in the state for the manufacture of products containing PFAS and subsequent contamination of the water and soil. The sad truth is that many of the victims of this contamination will not find out the extent of their injuries for many years, at which point they may receive a surprising cancer diagnosis or bring a child into the world with birth defects. But what can you do if you have been exposed to PFAS in California?
Rob Bonta Announced Lawsuit Against Forever Chemical Manufacturers
On November 10, 2022, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that the state of California was suing a wide range of manufacturers for their role in contaminating the environment with PFAS – otherwise known as “forever chemicals” or polyfluoroalkyl substances. Not only are these manufacturers being accused of poisoning the environment, but they are also being accused of poisoning Californians themselves, with 98% of residents now having “measurable amounts” of PFAS in their bloodstream.
Rob Bonta and the State of California argue that companies like 3M and DuPont knew or should have known about the health risks associated with PFAS, and yet they did nothing to stop production, warn the public, or protect people in the immediate vicinity of their manufacturing plants. PFAS can now be found across California’s many lakes, bays, streams, and rivers.
Wildlife, such as fish and deer, now have high concentrations of PFAS in their own bodies, affecting anyone who eats local fish or game. PFAS are in the soil, affecting anyone who consumes local produce. In many ways, the damage has already been done, and there is no stopping what has already been unleashed on our environment. PFAS can take thousands of years to fully degrade after being dumped in the environment, and about half of these chemicals stay in our bodies for at least four years. That said, new technologies are arising to help eliminate PFAS at a faster rate – including relatively simple methods that include high-pressure, high-heat systems.
Rob Bonta was quoted as saying:
“PFAS are as ubiquitous in California as they are harmful. As a result of a decades-long campaign of deception, PFAS are in our waters, our clothing, our houses, and even our bodies. The damage caused by 3M, DuPont, and other manufacturers of PFAS is nothing short of staggering, and without drastic action, California will be dealing with the harms of these toxic chemicals for generations. Today’s lawsuit is the result of a years-long investigation that found that the manufacturers of PFAS knowingly violated state consumer protection and environmental laws. We won’t let them off the hook for the pernicious damage done to our state.”
What Health Effects Have Been Linked With PFAS?
There are several adverse health effects that have been linked to PFAS, including the following:
- Developmental defects
- Live cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Breast cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Adverse pregnancy complications
- Reduced bone density in children
- Thyroid issues
- Compromised immune systems
- Ineffectiveness of vaccines
Will These Companies Be Forced to Pay?
The lawsuit specifically seeks injunctive relief, damages, penalties, restitution, and abatement. They also will seek to have these companies pay for statewide treatment and destruction of PFAS in the drinking water and irrigation water. California also wants to make companies like DuPont and 3M pay for medical monitoring, public noticing, replacement water, environmental testing, and safe disposal/destruction. All told, this could result in hundreds of millions in losses for these companies.
One thing to keep in mind is that California is not focusing on one specific company. Rather, they are suing virtually any company that was engaged in the production of PFAS while being aware of the negative health consequences. This could amount to dozens of companies, and they would all be expected to share the costs of any settlements or injunctions. This means that while the above damages would cost hundreds of millions to resolve, California’s demands seem a little more reasonable when you consider that no single company will be left holding the entire bill.
You also have to consider the fact that attorneys general of 15 other states have all sued companies for PFAS contamination, often receiving hundreds of millions in damages. For example, Minnesota received $850 million from 3M alone back in 2018. This means that these kinds of settlements are far from unprecedented – and we can expect similar results in California.
Awareness of Wrongdoing
You should also know that companies like DuPont and 3M were fully aware of PFAS toxicity as early as the 1950s. And yet they continued to sell these products for decades, knowing full well what it was doing to the environment and their own customers. EWG representative Melanie Benesh recently stated:
“It’s manufacturers like 3M and DuPont that have gotten us here today. They’ve known for 70 years that they were poisoning the water and didn’t tell the EPA. They didn’t tell anyone, because they were making too much money.”
Where Can I Find a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney in California?
If you believe you have been exposed to PFAS or any other toxin, you should get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Choose Mary Alexander & Associates, and you can immediately get started with an effective action plan. We have been helping injured plaintiffs in the Golden State for many years, and we know how terrible toxic exposure can be. With our help, you can strive for the best possible outcome in a confident, efficient manner. Your compensation can provide you with enough funds to cover medical expenses, missed wages, emotional distress, and much more. Book your consultation as soon as possible, as the statute of limitations can prevent you from suing if you wait too long.