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PFAS claims in Delaware settled

DuPont and the companies that used to be part of it, Chemours and Corteva, have reached a settlement with the Delaware Department of Justice. Under this, they are held responsible for decades of damage done to Delaware’s environment by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs).

The agreement has avoided a potential lawsuit for historic contamination by PFASs in Delaware, which remains DuPont’s headquarters. This had impacted waterways and groundwater located in each of the state’s three counties.

Based on a cost-sharing agreement between them, Chemours will pay $25 million immediately and the other two will pay $12.5 million each. They will also pay up to $25 million if they settle similar claims with other states for more than $50 million. This appears highly probable, given that some analyst has estimated total PFAS legal liability for all three firms at $5.2 billion in litigation and $1.3 billion in clean-up costs and that DuPont and Chemours reached a settlement for $670 million in West Virginia in 2017.

The agreement followed two years of environmental sampling, forensic analysis and corporate record review by the Delaware Department of Justice. The money will be used to purify drinking water and restoring natural resources; continue sampling to determine the presence of PFASs and other contaminants in water, ground and air; R&D into PFAS detection and abatement; and community environmental justice and equity grants.

PFASs are used in multiple applications, including non-stick and waterproof coatings, lubricants and foams for tackling fires. Over many decades, they have been discharged into multiple waterways in the US, which has no federal and few state limits. They have been linked to health problems like cancers of many types, organ failures and hormone disruptions, leading to multi-billion dollar lawsuits.

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