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3M to stop producing 'forever chemicals' by 2025

The Minnesota-based company said it would stop producing polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) and discontinue use in its products by the end of 2025.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota-based 3M has announced it will stop production and use of polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) by the end of 2025.

"3M is committing to innovate toward a world less dependent upon PFAS," the company said in a statement.

3M officials said the company made the decision "based on careful consideration and a thorough evaluation of the evolving external landscape, including multiple factors such as accelerating regulatory trends focused on reducing or eliminating the presence of PFAS in the environment and changing stakeholder expectations."

In its statement, 3M said PFAS are "critical" chemicals used in a variety of products like batteries, phones, cars, airplanes, and medical technologies, while adding that such products made by 3M are "safe and effective for their intended uses."

However, international environmental organizations refer to PFAS as "forever chemicals," which include thousands of substances "that don't occur in nature" and "hardly degrade in the natural environment," according to UK-based Chem Trust.

3M said it has already reduced its use of PFAS in the past three years and will "continue to innovate new solutions for customers."

"This is a moment that demands the kind of innovation 3M is known for," 3M chairman and chief executive officer Mike Roman said in a statement. "While PFAS can be safely made and used, we also see an opportunity to lead in a rapidly evolving external regulatory and business landscape to make the greatest impact for those we serve. This action is another example of how we are positioning 3M for continued sustainable growth by optimizing our portfolio, innovating for our customers, and delivering long-term value for our shareholders."

3M said annual net sales of manufactured PFAS currently average around $1.3 billion, while also acknowledging that such chemicals have been subject to legal action.

"3M will continue to remediate PFAS and address litigation by defending ourselves in court or through negotiated resolutions, all as appropriate," the company said.

In 2018, 3M reached a $850 million settlement with the state of Minnesota, tied to excessive PFAS levels in drinking water in the eastern Twin Cities metro.

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