As awareness grows about the widespread problem of water contamination from perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and the potential health risks these chemicals may cause, more states are taking action to prevent PFAS contamination. The latest and most notable development is that the state of New Hampshire has filed a lawsuit against several companies for damage caused by PFAS.
According to this report from WQP, the lawsuit—which names eight companies, including major corporations like 3M and Dupont—claims that the companies “possessed unique knowledge” about the dangers of the chemicals without informing the public. The report also notes that New Hampshire is the first to target statewide contamination with such a lawsuit
New Hampshire representatives say the goal of the lawsuit is to protect the state, its drinking water, and its citizens from this contamination moving forward. New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon MacDonald is quoted saying, “The actions we are taking today is intended to ensure that those responsible for PFAS contamination to our state’s drinking water supplies and other natural resources are held accountable.”
In recent months other states also have been involved in lawsuits related to PFAS contamination. In February, MassLive reported that New York state had filed a lawsuit against 3M and other manufacturers seeking damages for more than a dozen contamination sites across the state. And in May, NPR reported that the state of New Jersey filed a lawsuit against eight companies alleging they knew that the PFOA and PFOS used in firefighting foams would contaminate the environment.
PFAS have been recently earned the nickname “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down naturally in the environment and they take a very long time to leave the human body. A recent study revealed the presence of PFAS in the drinking water of 43 out of 50 states, impacting an estimated 19 million people.