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Environment

Utility sues over PFOA

by Marc S. Reisch
October 10, 2016 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 94, ISSUE 40

An Alabama water utility has sued carpet makers and chemical providers, including 3M, alleging that stain-resistant broadloom treatments containing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) have contaminated drinking water supplies at levels EPA deems to be of concern. In a suit filed in an Alabama state court, the Water Works & Sewer Board of the City of Gadsden is seeking unspecified damages for remediating water taken from the Coosa River downstream from the carpet manufacturing center of Dalton, Ga. “3M does not believe the environmental presence of these compounds in the local area presents any harm to human health,” says William A. Brewer III, an attorney representing the firm. In May, EPA lowered guidelines for PFOA and PFOS from 400 and 200 parts per trillion, respectively, to 70 ppt. Water contamination with the fluorosurfactants is also being scrutinized near industrial facilities in Parkersburg, W.Va.; Hoosick Falls, N.Y.; and Dordrecht, the Netherlands.

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