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Maine AG files two lawsuits against PFAS manufacturers

The two manufacturers are DuPont and 3M, the Office of the Maine Attorney General said Wednesday.

PORTLAND, Maine — Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey has filed two lawsuits against manufacturers who produce products containing PFAS.

PFAS, also known as per- and polyfluoroakyl substances, is nicknamed "forever" chemicals as they break down very slowly over time and are harmful to the environment, wildlife, and humans, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The two manufacturers are DuPont and 3M, the Office of the Maine Attorney General said in a news release Wednesday.

The office argued they "have known for decades that PFAS pose serious risks to human health and the environment, but instead promoted their PFAS products as safe and appropriate for widespread use in Maine."

The two lawsuits allege DuPont and 3M knew about PFAS toxicity decades ago, but the two manufacturers hid that information from the public and instead continued manufacturing, selling, and profiting off their PFAS-contained products, the release stated.

"The defendant manufacturers have willfully introduced toxic chemicals into Maine’s environment in pursuit of profit for shareholders,” Frey said in the release. “Maine citizens and the State are left to manage the harm these chemicals cause in our natural resources, our animals, our food, and our bodies, and the State is working overtime to manage the fallout."

The attorney general's office said the two lawsuits were filed in the Superior Court in Cumberland County, and will "seek to recover all costs to investigate, clean up, restore, treat, monitor and otherwise respond to the contamination of Maine’s natural resources."

Additionally, the state of Maine asked the court to "void" specific transactions between DuPont and its affiliates in hopes of insulating the manufacturer from PFAS-related liabilities, according to the release Wednesday.

“My Administration, working closely with the Legislature, has spearheaded one of the strongest efforts in the nation to address PFAS, but more work remains – particularly holding accountable the large manufacturers responsible for this serious problem,” Gov. Janet Mills said in the release. “Evidence indicates that, for many years, DuPont, 3M, and the other defendant manufacturers knew that PFAS posed serious risks to human health and the environment but hid that knowledge from the public while they lined their pockets at our expense. We will defend the people of Maine in the face of this recklessness."

For more information about PFAS and its effects, click here.

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