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Minnesota lawsuit: 3M to pay $850-million settlement

3M Company has agreed to a settlement of $850 million in a lawsuit alleging that the company contaminated groundwater through chemical disposal.

The lawsuit, filed in 2010, claimed that 3M allegedly dumped chemicals which were earlier used in the production of Scotchgard fabric protector and other products into the environment resulting in the contamination of drinking water and causing harm to wildlife and human health.

This is not the sole lawsuit against 3M

The state claimed that 3M had contributed to health problems in Minnesota. Cases of cancer and premature births were said to have been found outside Minneapolis, and the state was looking to seek punitive damages bringing the total amount in the lawsuit to $5 billion.

3M denies any wrongdoing and maintains that it had acted legally at the time. The company said the settlement would allow it to move on from the litigation.

From the Building 223 space at 3M Center (Courtesy: 3M Official Facebook)

The lawsuit focused on the disposal of perfluorochemicals (PFCs) and related compounds. These chemicals were used to make non-stick cookware and paints along with other products such as Scotchgard and were disposed of in landfills legally. PFCs do not degrade but remain in the ground seeping into the water affecting both wildlife and human beings.

Minnesota’s Attorney General Lori Swanson stated that 3M would pay the settlement in one lump sum amount in the next 15 days. The money will be used to finance projects that ensure drinking water stays clean and safe. Swanson believes this is the largest environmental case in the history of the state.

This is not the sole lawsuit against the 3M Company. The manufacturer has been sued in multiple cases across the United States over allegations of water contamination from chemicals used in firefighting foams and leather treatment.

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