“3M PFAS Deal With Wolverine Could Foreshadow Other Cases”

“3M Co.'s agreement to pay $55 million to clothier Wolverine World Wide Inc. to clean up PFAS in Michigan could serve as a model for other companies hoping to shift their liabilities for “forever chemicals,” lawyers say.

3M announced the agreement with Wolverine on Thursday to resolve a legal dispute between the two companies over who should pay to clean up pollution near a former Wolverine manufacturing site. 3M originally developed and produced per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in the 1940s. The chemicals have been found in drinking water in towns across the country.

Wolverine used PFAS-laden Scotchgard to waterproof the clothing and shoes it produces, according to the company’s complaint against 3M, which changed the Scotchgard formula around 2002 over concerns about PFAS. Wolverine manufactures shoes for brands including Saucony, Hush Puppies, Sperry, and Keds”

Ellen M. Gilmer and Sylvia Carignan report for Bloomberg Environment February 21, 2020.