On Friday, September 11th, Hopatcong Borough filed a federal lawsuit against 3M on charges of alleged contamination of their water supply with PFAs. PFAs, or “forever chemicals”, are known for their failure to break down and their ability to remain in the environment and in the human body. Scientific research has shown that these chemicals can contribute to a range of health issues including the possibility of cancer.
The Borough of Hopatcong has seven wells currently contaminated with PFOS (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid). Five of their wells have tested over the limit for PFOA and PFOS based on New Jersey’s MCLs (maximum contaminant level). Under the New Jersey Safe Drinking Water Act, New Jersey has an MCL of 14 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and 13 ppt for PFOS. NJ’s standards are higher than the national advisory level set by the EPA of 70 ppt for PFOA in drinking water.
The town claims there is evidence that 3M was well aware of the dangers of these substances but continued selling them to a range of entities around the state and failed to disclose any information about the potential risks of the chemicals. The town’s five-count complaint includes negligence, failure to warn, nuisance and trespass claims. They are requesting compensation in order to investigate further, treat and remediate the situation, and monitor all the costs associated with these efforts.
3M stopped manufacturing PFOS and PFOA products in 2002.