Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced a lawsuit filed against 21 companies alleging environmental contamination from chemical products on Wednesday, May 31, 2023. (Courtesy of Ellen Rosenblum)
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum on Wednesday sued 21 organizations – including multinational companies DuPont and 3M – alleging their foam-based chemical products have been responsible for public health and environmental contamination in the state.
The lawsuit, filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, alleges the companies were involved in the manufacture of the chemicals used in so-called film-forming foam, or firefighting foam, which has been widely used on military bases and airports, but was also included in everyday household products like food packaging, waterproof jackets, carpets and nonstick pans.
The substances – PFAS or per- and polyfluorinated substances – are known as forever chemicals because they can stay in humans and the environment for decades.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that exposure to PFAS can cause health problems such as decreased fertility, developmental problems in children, a heightened risk of kidney and testicular cancer and a weakened immune system.
“They have profited mightily from their flagrant disregard for the health and safety of Oregonians and our natural resources,” Rosenblum said in a statement. “Defendants’ actions have caused these toxic and persistent ‘forever chemicals’ to contaminate our pristine state and will require significant expense to investigate, treat, and remediate.”
The lawsuit alleges contamination at Portland International Airport and Kingsley Field Air National Guard Base in Klamath Falls.
The lawsuit seeks a court order that would require the companies to remove contamination from state-owned lands and waters, with damages determined at trial. The state also seeks damages to test, treat and restore any damaged drinking water resources.
The lawsuit is just the latest of hundreds connected to PFAS contamination by various entities and states, including Maryland and Washington state, which filed lawsuits on Tuesday.
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