DuPont and Chemours were recently forced to pay a substantial settlement that will affect the people of Florida. This settlement involves the use of firefighting chemicals that are toxic to people and could cause a wide variety of health problems.
The term “forever chemicals” refers to a wide variety of chemicals that stay in the environment for an extended period of time. They are types of organic compounds known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Their inability to quickly break down means that these chemicals can be ingested by humans and animals for decades after they are used. They also cause substantial damage and may increase the risk of certain types of cancer.
The chemicals involved in this particular lawsuit had a unique ability to suppress fires. They could be combined with other materials in a highly effective foam that was so useful that it was required at airports and other sites by government regulators.
But now, all of that foam must be phased out. Because of the effectiveness of the materials, the companies involved covered up their health risks for years and are now facing mass torts cases as a result.
The companies involved will pay over $1 billion to victims who can show that they were exposed to these chemicals and suffered poor health effects thereafter. Other companies that were also involved in the production of these materials may be sued. In addition, the polluters may have to pay to help remove PFAS from the water system contaminated by firefighting foam. The clean-up effort could go on for years and cost billions of dollars.