BURLINGTON, Vt.- Vermont’s Attorney General is taking on national companies that make and sell PFAS, potentially toxic chemicals that have contaminated the state’s ground water.
“By putting harmful and dangerous PFA chemicals into Vermont’s environment,” said TJ Donovan.
The lawsuits filed Wednesday accuses 3M and Dupont, among others, for damages to the state’s drinking water and ground water. Donovan said for decades, the companies were aware of the environmental harm and health dangers but continued to manufacture them despite any disclosure.
“They never provided public notice of the potential harm and health risks of these chemicals,” Donovan said.
In 2016, the state first discovered widespread contamination in Bennington County. More than 300 private drinking wells had high PFOA levels. Studies show a potential link between high levels in people and health problems including increased risk of cancer and problems with pregnancy.
“We’re talking about incredibly small concentrations that can have significant impacts to public health and the environment,” said Julie Moore, Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources.
Moore said her team will be testing 700 public water supply sites by the end of the year to get an idea if any presence of the chemicals still exist, so the state can take action to remove the toxins.
“These PFAS are so ubiquitous in our environment at this point and they don’t break down over time,” Moore said. “It’s not just the immediate impacts but the long-term effects we’re concerned about.”
“The goal is to clean this up,” Donovan said. “The goal is to make Vermont whole and to hold these companies accountable.
Vermont’s not alone, many other states around the country have also taken legal action against the makers of PFAS.