June 27, 2019 (MONTPELIER, VT) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Toxics Action Center, Vermont Natural Resources Council, and Vermont Conservation Voters issued the following statement today after Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan announced lawsuits against several companies for contaminating water supplies with toxic PFAS chemicals.
“DuPont and 3M have knowingly poisoned our water for decades while reaping billions in profits,” said Jen Duggan, Vice President and Director of CLF Vermont. “These companies have no right to pollute our drinking water and our bodies. Attorney General Donovan recognizes the need to hold the responsible parties accountable for putting these toxic forever chemicals into our water and our health at risk.”
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are suspected carcinogens and have been linked to a variety of severe health problems including learning disorders in infants and children, fertility and pregnancy issues and impaired liver, thyroid and pancreatic function. It’s estimated that almost every American has at least one of these substances in their blood.
Called ‘forever chemicals’ because they never fully break down, PFAS have been widely used in nonstick cookware, food wrappers, water-repellent clothing, stain-resistant fabrics and carpets, some cosmetics, some firefighting foams, and products that resist grease, water, and oil.
“This is a significant step forward in addressing the PFAS crisis in Vermont,” said Shaina Kasper, Vermont and New Hampshire State Director of Toxics Action Center. “Polluters must be held accountable for the damages they cause. As the state moves forward with testing communities’ drinking water, Vermont’s cities, town, neighborhoods, and small water districts cannot be handed the bill. We need to know that those responsible for the contamination in the first place are those who will pay for the filtration and clean up.”
“Vermont must do everything it can to make sure polluters, and not victims of toxic pollution or taxpayers, pay for the damage resulting from the chemicals they use and profit from,” said Jon Groveman, Policy and Water Program Director at the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC). “VNRC applauds Attorney General Donovan for holding these manufacturers accountable for the harm that their toxic chemicals cause.”
“VCV commends the Attorney General’s work to hold these corporations responsible for the mess they made,” said Lauren Hierl, Executive Director of Vermont Conservation Voters (VCV). “AG Donovan’s actions recognize the fact that companies must be held accountable for profiting off these chemicals for decades while knowing the risks they posed.”
Lawsuits have been filed against DuPont, Chemours, 3M, Chemguard, Tyco, National Foam, Buckeye Fire Equipment, and Kidde-Fenwal.
CLF has been pushing for stronger regulations across New England to protect the public from the dangers of PFAS. You can read more about that work here.
Experts are available for further comment.