TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan: DuPont, Chemours and Corteva have reached an agreement to pay $1.18 billion to resolve complaints of causing pollution in many US drinking water systems, through the use of compounds known as PFAS.
The three companies said they will compensate water providers for contamination with the "forever chemicals" used widely in nonstick, water- and grease-resistant products, as well as some firefighting foams, through a fund they will establish.
PFAS, which do not degrade naturally in the environment, have been linked to liver and immune-system damage, some cancers and other health issues.
They have been detected in drinking water around the US at varying levels.
The agreement would settle a case scheduled for trial this week involving a water pollution claim by Stuart, Florida.
The city is one of about 300 communities throughout the United States that have filed equivalent suits since 2018 against companies that produced firefighting foam or the PFAS contained in the foam. The cases are pending in US District Court in Charleston, South Carolina.
Among the plaintiffs are water providers, airports, and a number of states and private well owners.
In a statement, law firms representing plaintiffs said, "This agreement represents the first of many steps to begin to redress the harms of PFAS contamination in America's drinking water supplies."
The settlement will "comprehensively resolve all PFAS-related drinking water claims of a defined class of public water systems that serve the vast majority of the US population," the companies said in a joint statement.
The agreement excludes systems owned by states or the US government and small systems that have not detected PFAS and are not legally required to monitor for its presence.