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Puerto Rico sues 20 U.S. companies for PFAS contamination

San Juan, Jun 6 (Prensa Latina) The Puerto Rican government, on behalf of the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER), has filed a lawsuit against at least 20 companies for contamination of the island´s natural resources with toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which threaten the environment and people.

“We are not the only jurisdiction suing in this regard, but 26 other states and territories have also sued for the same threat,” said Anaís Rodríguez Vega, DNER Minister.

Perfluoroalkylated and polyfluoroalkylated pollutants are the basis for the lawsuit filed on May 31.

These chemical agents have been used in multiple industries around the world since the 1940s.

In the 88-page civil case filed at the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, the government claims the defendants “designed, manufactured, marketed, distributed, and sold a wide range of products that contain PFAS, the use, disposal, and discharge of which in Puerto Rico released the contaminant into the environment through multiple ways, [polluting] natural resources and putting Puerto Ricans’ health at significant risk.”

“The defendants generated significant profits from the sale of these products, including under brand names such as Teflon and Scotchgard,” El Nuevo Día newspaper stated.

Some of the defendants’ PFAS products included specialized firefighting foams used to extinguish or suppress flammable liquid fires; household and consumer products such as grease-, stain- and water-repellant cookware, carpeting, clothing and food packaging; and processing aids used to make further products. Defendants generated significant profits from selling these products, including under branded names such as Teflon and Scotchgard, according to the complaint.

In its complaint, the government claimed that while the defendants knew of the harmful effects of their products, they continued to release or sell them, without warning “plaintiff and the public of the dangers posed by their PFAS Products, and instead hid these dangers to protect their corporate image and limit their liability.”

PFAS are now commonly known as “forever chemicals, [because] they are persistent and will remain in the environment for hundreds or even thousands of years, leaving a toxic legacy for future generations of Puerto Ricans and others,” according to the lawsuit.

The complaint responds in part to the release in March of proposed drinking water standards by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which limits the maximum acceptable contaminant levels in drinking water.

The list of defendants includes 3M Co.; AGC Chemicals Americas Inc.; Amerex Corp.; Archroma U.S. Inc.; Arkema INC.; BASF Corp.; Buckeye Fire Equipment Co.; Carrier Fire & Security Americas Corp.; Carrier Global Corp.; Chemdesign Products Inc.; Chemguard Inc.; Clariant Corp.; Corteva Inc.; Dupont De Nemours, Inc.; Dynax Corp.; EIDP INC., F/K/A E.I. Du Pont De Nemours & Co.; Kidde Plc Inc.; National Foam Inc.; The Chemours Co.; Tyco Fire Products LP; and other unidentified entities.


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