Industry Documents Show Firms Knew About Forever Chemicals for Decades

"An analysis of previously secret documents show how chemical companies like 3M and DuPont used deflection tactics seen in other industries."

"Major chemical companies were aware of the dangers forever chemicals posed to the public, years before they were forced to admit it. A new study in Annals of Global Health examined previously secret industry documents and saw exactly how manufacturers DuPont and 3M purposely distorted public knowledge about PFAS in their products.

PFAS, or per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, are commonly called ‘forever chemicals’ because they won’t break down in the human body or in nature. They persist ‘forever.’ It’s also a term that categorizes over 12,000 chemicals found in many everyday products. Chemical exposure has been linked to cancer, infertility, birth defects, and more. Major manufacturers of these chemicals were well aware of some of these medical concerns decades before the public was made aware of this in the early 1990s, the study explained.

Researchers from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) analyzed company documents from 1961 to 2006 to understand how chemical companies hid information about PFAS from regulators and the public. The documents used were from a case based in Delaware and were provided to Attorney Robert Billot, who was the first to successfully sue DuPont for PFAS contamination, according to the study. Documents analyzed show that as early as 1961, DuPont leadership knew that rats exposed to the chemicals used to make Teflon cookware coatings had enlarged livers. Both 3M and DuPont were also aware of two employees whose children were born with birth defects. "

Angely Mercado reports for Earther June 1, 2023.


Source: Earther, 06/02/2023