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Lawsuit: 3M contamination led to more cancer, infertility

Published: November 22, 2017
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Source: Phys.org

Minnesota's attorney general alleges that chemicals dumped by 3M Co. in the Twin Cities metro led to an increase in cancer, infertility and babies with low birth weights.

The contamination caused $5 billion in health and environmental damage for which 3M should be liable, Attorney General Lori Swanson said Friday in a court filing.

The filing alleges that 3M knew the groundwater was contaminated years before it stopped making perflourinated chemicals, known as PFCs, and that it withheld critical information from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"3M, in pursuit of profit, deliberately disregarded the substantial risk of injury to the people and environment of Minnesota from its continued manufacture of PFCs and its improper disposal," the state said.

The state cited a study by David Sunding, a natural resources economist at the University of California, Berkley, in court documents. Sunding studied epidemiological data and birth and death records for Washington County and Oakdale from 2001 and 2016. He found Oakdale had a 30 percent increase in low birth weights and premature births compared to neighboring communities. The city's fertility rate was about 16 percent lower.

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