Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Prompted by regulators, 3M to phase out ‘forever chemical’

WASHINGTON (AP) – 3M will phase out manufacturing of so-called “forever chemicals” and seek to phase them out of all of its products within two years, the chemical and consumer products maker said Tuesday.

The decision announced Tuesday by US environmental regulators designates chemicals used in nonstick frying pans, water-repellent sports gear, stain-resistant rugs, cosmetics and countless other consumer products since the 1940s as hazardous substances under Superfund law. I have come after being nominated.

While the designation is not an outright ban, polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS, require a report to federal, state or tribal officials if the amount released into soil or water meets or exceeds a certain level. it occurs. Then the Environmental Protection Agency may require a cleanup to protect public health and recover the cost of the cleanup.

PFAS have been voluntarily phased out by US manufacturers but are still in limited use and remain in the environment because they do not degrade over time.

3M said its decision was based on several factors, including “accelerating regulatory trends focused on reducing or eliminating the presence” of chemicals in the environment.

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The chemicals can accumulate and persist in the human body for long periods of time, and evidence from animal and human studies indicates that exposure to PFAS can cause cancer or other health problems, including damage to organs including the liver, kidneys, and thyroid gland. There may be damage.

3M, based in St. Paul, Minnesota, said it would phase out all PFAS manufacturing by the end of 2025 and “work to phase out the use of PFAS” in all of its products.

3M makes a wide range of consumer products, including Post-It Notes, Scotch Brite cleaning supplies, adhesives, and personal protective equipment.

Chemical and other industrial companies have often been sued in recent years for downplaying the hazards of chemicals.

In a November lawsuit, the state of California accused 3M, DuPont and 16 smaller companies of covering up harm to the environment and the public from chemicals manufactured by the firms finding their way into waterways and human bloodstreams for decades.

Last year, the Biden administration launched a comprehensive strategy to control toxic industrial compounds, which the EPA said are increasingly turning up in public drinking water systems, private wells and even food.

The Department of Defense, the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture were all tapped to join efforts intended to prevent PFAS from being released into the environment and accelerate the cleanup.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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