Oregon AG sues 21 companies over toxic firefighting foam

In this June 7, 2018, file photo, PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, foam...
In this June 7, 2018, file photo, PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, foam gathers at the the Van Etten Creek dam in Oscoda Township, Mich., near Wurtsmith Air Force Base. The U.S. Department of Defense has dragged its feet on protecting service personnel from “forever chemicals” at military installations and isn't doing enough to track health effects from exposure to the toxic compounds, according to an internal audit. Officials have taken steps to find and clean groundwater contaminated with firefighting foam containing PFAS the department's inspector general found. But its recently released report said the Pentagon has fallen short on dealing with other sources of the chemicals as its rules require.(Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP, File)
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 4:08 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - On June 1 Oregon’s Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum sued 21 companies involved in the manufacturing of toxic chemicals found in firefighting foam.

The named companies are 3M and DuPont alongside 19 unnamed manufacturing companies.

Rosenblum alleges the companies’ legal responsibility for the environmental contamination caused by the foam, aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) and its toxic component, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

These chemicals are used to create firefighting foam used on military bases and at commercial airports but can also be found in household products such as nonstick pans and waterproof jackets.

PFAS does not break down easily and can live in the environment and human body for decades according to the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. The agency has concluded that exposure to PFAS may lead to negative health effects, including:

· Decreased fertility and high blood pressure in pregnant women

· Increased risk of certain cancers, including kidney and testicular cancer

· Reduced immune system ability that leaves the body open to infection

· Increased risk of high cholesterol and/or obesity

“We intend to prove these defendants knew for decades that PFAS – and, particularly, PFAS-containing fire-fighting foam – is dangerous to human health and to the environment,” said AG Rosenblum.

The state claims against the companies: public nuisance, trespassing, equitable indemnity and unjust enrichment.

The lawsuit also alleges through restructuring the company DuPont fraudulently moved assets in order to separate them from billions of dollars of environmental liabilities.

The state asks that the Defendants remove any AFF-related PFAS contamination on all land and water owned by the state or held in trust for the benefit of the public. The state also asks that damages be awarded in an amount decided in trial as well as compensation for all past and future costs related to PFAS contamination across Oregon.