Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser on Wednesday sued companies that produce PFAS, or forever chemicals, which are linked to cancer and birth defects and likely seeping into hundreds of water sources across the state.
Weiser filed the lawsuit in state District Court in Denver against chemical production giants including DuPont, Corteva and Chemguard.
“The companies responsible for making firefighting foam with toxic forever chemicals and selling it for use in our state long after they knew or should have known the harmful nature of this foam have caused harm to our citizens,” Weiser said in a statement. “Colorado now has forever chemicals in our soil and drinking water systems and people’s health is at risk.”
“These companies knew that these chemicals posed significant threats to human health and the environment and nonetheless put Colorado at risk,” Weiser continued. “It is important that they pay for the harm they caused.”
PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are man-made, nonstick substances that are also waterproof and stain-resistant used in a wide variety of products like cookware, cleaning products, clothing, upholstery and firefighting foam. The compounds are linked to cancer, birth defects, weakened immunity and kidney problems.
The toxic chemicals have contaminated groundwater at the Air Force Academy, an aquifer in southern El Paso County, the Gazette has reported. And a study released last year by the Environmental Working Group showed that they are used and discharged into water at 501 sites in Colorado and nearly 30,000 sites across the country.
Weiser’s lawsuit accuses the companies and subsidiaries, 15 in all, of negligence, public nuisance, trespassing and unjust enrichment. It also accuses DuPont, Chemours and Corteva of violating the Colorado Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act.
The lawsuit is asking for damages, that the defendants be ordered to investigate, restore and monitor contaminated sites and for restitution in an amount to be determined at a trial.
This story will be updated.
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