Maryland AG Anthony Brown Joins Nationwide Opposition Against 3M's Proposed PFAS Settlement


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HARFORD COUNTY - Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown has joined a coalition of 23 state AGs in opposing the class-action settlement with the 3M Company concerning PFAS contamination.

According to the proposed settlement, water providers nationwide would dismiss hundreds of lawsuits they have lodged against 3M in exchange for a $10.5 to $12.5 billion payout.

Attorney General Brown said the settlement lacks accountability and does not adequately protect citizens.

"The potential risks posed by PFAS contamination are far-reaching, threatening the health and well-being of our families, our communities, and the ecological balance of our environment. Marylanders deserve better than a half-hearted attempt and sweeping these concerns under a rug," Brown wrote in a news release.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), known as "forever chemicals," are persistent, resistant to degradation, and can leach into groundwater. They are common in various household and commercial products, including non-stick pans and firefighting foams. In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first federal drinking water limits on PFAS. A final decision is expected later this year or in 2024.

A recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey revealed that PFAS have contaminated drinking water across the nation, from large cities to small towns, and in private wells and public systems. The study indicated that PFAS could be found in about 45 percent of tap water samples nationwide.

In Maryland, around 20 sites have been identified with PFAS contamination, including Aberdeen Proving Ground, Gunpowder Military Reservation in Baltimore County, Fort Meade at Odenton, and the Harford County Department of Public Works.

In a brief filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, the multistate coalition warns of several potential adverse consequences of the proposed settlement, including forced liability shifts from 3M to water suppliers and insufficient knowledge for water providers to make informed decisions.

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