When our reporter went to cover a story at Camp Grayling, she was told not to walk too closely to gauges measuring the toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances — because the PFAS she likely has in, or on, her body would set them off.
Funny, she’d never been told that before.
Who knew what, when forms the crux of a lawsuit mounted this week against 17 Michigan manufacturers.
The state names the companies — 3M; DuPont and two of its spin-off companies Chemours Co. and Corteva Inc; Dyneon LLC; Archroma entities; Arkema entities; AGC Chemicals Americas Inc.; Daikin Industries entities; Solvay Specialty Polymers, USA LLC; and Asahi Kasei Plastics North America Inc. — and contends they “deliberately concealed” PFAS dangers, withheld scientific evidence and knowingly used PFAS-containing materials in Michigan “in a way that they knew would contaminate natural resources and expose Michigan residents to harm.”
These synthetic chemicals, in use since the 1940s, are found many household items, like Teflon and Scotch-Guard. They made up our fire-fighting foam used by the military, airports and local departments.
They don’t break down, and accumulate in our bodies and water supplies — earning the nickname “forever chemicals.”
The Center for Disease Control has since tied PFAS exposure to increased rates of cancer and thyroid disease.
We in Michigan are not unique in suing manufacturers — Minnesota, Ohio, Vermont, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York and New Hampshire have sued or settled with them, too.
What makes us “special” in this case is currently being home to more documented PFAS sites — 192 — than any other state, according to the Environmental Working Group.
If manufacturers indeed knew that these chemicals were toxic to us and continued to expose us to them, then they need to be held accountable.
We appreciate the forward movement in addressing what will likely become a “forever” clean up, and an ongoing health problem.