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Dutch to hold US firm 3M liable for ‘forever chemicals’

Dutch to hold US firm 3M liable for 'forever chemicals'
Source: Logo

The Dutch government said Tuesday that it would hold US multinational 3M, the maker of Post-it and Scotch tape, responsible for damages caused by “forever chemicals” in the Western Scheldt river.

The company had already agreed last year to a settlement of 571 million euros ($582 million) with the Belgian region of Flanders over the PFAS chemical discharges around its Zwijndrecht plant, near the Belgian city of Antwerp.

The Dutch government said in a statement on Tuesday that the chemicals had caused financial damage to fishermen and raised concerns among residents of the Dutch province of Zeeland, where the Scheldt flows into the North Sea.

“There are too many PFAS in the Western Scheldt,” said Dutch infrastructure and water management minister Mark Harbers.

“I think it’s the polluters who have to pay, not the users and the administrators,” he said. “Holding 3M liable is consistent with that.”

PFAS are known as “forever” chemicals because they barely degrade in the environment, or in bodies.

3M said in December that it would stop manufacturing polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances by the end of 2025 in light of stricter regulation over the harmful health effects from their use.

Last year, Dutch authorities warned against eating fish, shrimp, mussels and other products from the Western Scheldt because of high PFAS levels.

The government said it still must be determined how much of the PFAS pollution is caused by 3M.


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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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