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In recent months, the State of Michigan has found several places where drinking water and fish are contaminated by a class of chemicals called PFAS, or poly and perfluoroalkyl substances.PFAS is a family of chemicals that can be found in all sorts of products. But what are the lingering effects of PFAS on our health and the environment?

AG Nessel plans to bring lawsuits against manufacturers of opioids and PFAS

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

State officials say they expect to bring legal action against manufacturers, distributors, and other responsible parties behind PFAS contamination around the state, and the opioid crisis.

Attorney General Dana Nessel says she is seeking bids from experts to help the state conduct investigations and bring legal action.

In a statement, Dana Nessel says that “manufactured chemicals - both opioids and PFAS - are having a devastating effect on our residents.” She added that the state is seeking experts to “assist us in successfully going after those who are poisoning our planet and our people.”

Kelly Rossman-McKinney is a spokeswoman for the attorney general. She says the state expects to bring lawsuits against companies.

“We fully expect aggressive litigation and in fact, Attorney General Nessel herself specifically mentioned the 3M company as one of the companies in the PFAS litigation,” she says.

3M produced a PFAS chemical until 2003 that has been linked to drinking water contamination in Parchment and Rockford in Southwest Michigan.

A report from the Detroit Free Press uncovered internal documents showing the company continued selling and producing the chemicals despite knowing how dangerous they were.

Rossman-McKinney said the state plans to cast a wide net.

“The potential for multiple litigants are definitely out there. So it’s not just manufacturers but it’s also those who purchased and then distributed and or abused those chemicals. Whether it’s opioids or PFAS,” she says.

Rossman-McKinney says any attorneys or law firms who want to assist the state in these suits will work on a contingency fee, meaning that they would be paid only if the state wins its suits.

There is no official timeline for bringing legal action but Rossman-McKinney said the state will work quickly to find experts and move through investigations.

“Pursuing litigation couldn’t happen soon enough as far as the attorney general is concerned,” she says.

In her statement, Nessel says the goal will be to “make those responsible pay for their greed.”


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