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Chemours, DuPont and Corteva offer more than $1 billion to settle forever chemicals claims

Christian Fernsby |
Chemours, DuPont de Nemours, and Corteva have reached an agreement in principle to comprehensively resolve all PFAS-related drinking water claims of a defined class of public water systems that serve the vast majority of the United States population.

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The class includes water systems with a current detection of PFAS1 at any level and those that are currently required to monitor for the presence of PFAS under EPA monitoring rules2 or other applicable laws.

This includes but is not limited to systems in the South Carolina aqueous film-forming foam multi-district litigation (“AFFF MDL”).

The companies will collectively establish and contribute a total of $1.185 billion to a settlement fund (“water district settlement fund”).

Contribution rates will be consistent with the binding Memorandum of Understanding between the companies reached in January 2021, with Chemours contributing 50 percent (about $592 million), and DuPont (about $400 million) and Corteva (about $193 million) collectively contributing the remaining 50 percent.

The settlement amounts will be funded by the companies in full and deposited into the water district settlement fund within ten business days following preliminary approval of the settlement by the Court.

Upon finalization of a definitive agreement, expected within the second quarter of 2023, the settlement will be subject to approval by the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina.

As part of the approval process, the Court will establish a timetable for notice to class members, hearings on approval, and for class members to opt out of the settlement. The companies will have the right to terminate the settlement if opt-outs exceed specified levels.

The following systems are excluded from the settlement class: water systems owned and operated by a State or the United States government; small systems that have not detected the presence of PFAS and are not currently required to monitor for it under federal or state requirements; and water systems in the lower Cape Fear River Basin of North Carolina (which are included only if they so request).

If a settlement cannot be finalized and approved and plaintiffs elect to pursue their claims in court, the companies will continue to assert their strong legal defenses in pending litigation.

The companies deny the allegations in the underlying litigation and reserve all legal and factual defenses against such claims if they were litigated to conclusion.

The group of chemicals known as PFAS, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, have been found to cause cancer and other health problems, and take very long periods of time to break down.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large class of thousands of synthetic chemicals that are used throughout society. However, they are increasingly detected as environmental pollutants and some are linked to negative effects on human health.

They all contain carbon-fluorine bonds, which are one of the strongest chemical bonds in organic chemistry. This means that they resist degradation when used and also in the environment.

Most PFAS are also easily transported in the environment covering long distances away from the source of their release.

PFAS have been frequently observed to contaminate groundwater, surface water and soil. Cleaning up polluted sites is technically difficult and costly. If releases continue, they will continue to accumulate in the environment, drinking water and food.


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