EPA Conducting Criminal Investigations Into Industries’ Handling of PFAS Chemicals

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For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, February 27, 2020

WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency is pursuing multiple criminal inquiries into corporations that manufacture the toxic fluorinated chemicals called PFAS, according to a report by Bloomberg Environment.

In an update to its 2020 PFAS Action Plan, the EPA included details about the new probes, stating it “has multiple criminal investigations underway concerning PFAS-related pollution.”

In documents submitted to the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, both 3M and Chemours Co. have disclosed that they are both targets of EPA’s investigations. Chemours is a spinoff company of DuPont, which, along with 3M, produced PFAS chemicals for decades.

“For decades, these and other corporations have knowingly and maliciously contaminated our drinking water, food supplies and the blood of virtually every person in the U.S. with these toxic chemicals, and EPA knew it and did nothing,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Holding polluters criminally accountable is hardly the calling card of the Trump administration. That is why the public must demand EPA pursue all legal actions against 3M, Chemours, DuPont and other corporate bad actors responsible for any crimes committed in the craven pursuit of profits over human health.”

EWG documented the 50-plus years of chemical companies like 3M and DuPont burying the truth that highly toxic PFAS build up in our blood and present risks to human health. EWG created a timeline of these two companies’ secret studies and internal memos between 1950 and 2000, which document what they knew about the dangers of PFAS chemicals and when they knew it.

A recently released feature film, “Dark Waters,” documents the real-life story of attorney Rob Bilott’s 20-year fight against DuPont’s contamination of the drinking water around Parkersburg, W.Va., with a PFAS chemical used to make Teflon. Since Bilott began his crusade, PFAS has been detected in the water of almost 1,400 communities, in almost every state.

Bilott has published his own book, “Exposure: Poisoned Water, Corporate Greed, and One Lawyer’s Twenty-Year Battle Against Dupont,” a riveting first-person account of how he revealed the company’s dumping of the chemicals and the decades-long coverup of the health hazards of PFAS.

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The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.