3M To Pay $10.3 Bln To Settle PFAS Claims; Sees Hefty Charge In Q2

3M Co. announced that it has reached an agreement to pay up to $10.3 billion over 13 years to settle lawsuits over hazardous chemical contaminated water supplies in the United States. The company expects to record a pre-tax charge of around $10.3 billion in the second quarter of 2023.

In pre-market activity on the NYSE, 3M shares were gaining around 3.9 percent to trade at $104.35.

The conglomerate operating in the fields of industry, worker safety, healthcare, and consumer goods has resolved claims by public water suppliers that have detected per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS in drinking water, as well as for eligible PWS that may detect PFAS at any level in the future.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, PFAS, known as “forever chemicals,” are a group of chemicals used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water.

3M noted that PFAS can be safely made and used and are critical in the manufacture of many important products including medical technologies, semiconductors, batteries, phones, automobiles, and airplanes.

However, the company for the last two decades has faced thousands of lawsuits for manufacturing various products containing PFAS. These lawsuits allege that these chemicals contaminated US drinking water systems. They also claimed that 3M knew PFAS caused cancer, developmental defects and other health problems.

The company last year said it would stop producing these chemicals by the end of 2025.

In a statement, the company now said it has entered into a broad class resolution to support PFAS remediation for public water suppliers or PWS that detect PFAS at any level or may do so in the future.

Subject to court approval, the agreement provides funding for PWS across the country for PFAS treatment technologies without the need for further litigation. It will also provide funding for eligible PWS that may detect PFAS in the future. The funding for PWS nationwide can also be used to conduct testing for PFAS.

3M chairman and CEO Mike Roman said, “This is an important step forward for 3M, which builds on our actions that include our announced exit of PFOA and PFOS manufacturing more than 20 years ago, our more recent investments in state-of-the-art water filtration technology in our chemical manufacturing operations, and our announcement that we will exit all PFAS manufacturing by the end of 2025.”

3M said the deal is not an admission of liability, and that it is prepared to continue to defend itself in the litigation if the agreement is not approved by the court or certain agreed terms are not fulfilled.

In early June, Chemours Co., DuPont de Nemours Inc and Corteva Inc. reached a preliminary settlement agreement worth $1.19 billion to resolve allegations of contaminating U.S. public water systems with hazardous “forever chemicals”.

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