Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large group of man-made chemicals that include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). PFAS have been used globally during the past century in manufacturing, firefighting and thousands of common household and other consumer products.
These chemicals are persistent in the environment and in the human body – meaning they don’t break down and they can accumulate over time. In recent years, experts have become increasingly concerned by the potential effects of high concentrations of PFAS on human health.
The things we have learned about PFAS in the past few years are astonishing. Firefighting foam, Teflon, leather goods and clothing, and the paper used to wrap fast food are just a few of the thousands of industrial and consumer products made with “forever” chemicals that persist and build up in the environment.
The lawsuit asserts these 17 defendants knowingly designed, marketed, developed, distributed, sold, manufactured, released, supplied, transported, arranged for disposal or treatment, handled, and/or used PFAS and/or PFAS-containing products in Michigan in such a way as to cause harm to our state’s natural resources and our residents.
This is the first legal action taken by the state against PFAS manufacturers and continues Michigan’s leadership in tackling the serious and widespread problem of PFAS contamination.
The proposed Consent Decree settlement puts in place remedies to be provided by Wolverine Worldwide to resolve the lawsuit filed against it in January 2018 by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (then called the Department of Environmental Quality). Plainfield and Algoma townships later joined the suit.