Illinois 3M Plant Was Worst Emitter of Climate-Killing Chemical in 2021

"The company was also sued this year by the state’s attorney general for discharging PFAS, contaminating groundwater and the Mississippi River. It says it will stop manufacturing and using PFAS in its products by 2025."

"CORDOVA, Ill.—At a sprawling 3M chemical manufacturing complex here, where the company makes adhesives for Post-it notes, golf clubs and LCD displays, several hundred pounds of a potent climate killer are vented into the atmosphere each day.

The 566-acre facility on the east bank of the Mississippi River, which also makes resins and fluorochemicals, released 73 tons of perfluoromethane (CF4) into the air in 2021, more than any other facility in the country, according to data the company reported to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Unlike some PFAS, CF4 is considered non-toxic. But when it comes to warming the climate, CF4 is 7,380 times more potent than carbon dioxide on a pound-for-pound basis over a 100-year period. Releases of the fluorocarbon from the plant in 2021 equal the greenhouse gas emissions of 116,000 automobiles. However, unlike the carbon dioxide of car exhaust, which remains in the atmosphere for an estimated 300-1,000 years, CF4 sticks around, warming the planet, for 50,000 years.

Emissions of CF4 from the facility, and their contribution to climate change, may be a tradeoff that the company took to reduce the release of other, more immediately harmful chemicals."

Phil McKenna reports for Inside Climate News December 29, 2022.


Source: Inside Climate News, 01/02/2023