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What Minnesota’s settlement with 3M could mean for Michigan’s contaminated water problems

Michigan Radio
A rusty barrel in the woods near a former dump site used by Wolverine Worldwide.

News that the state of Minnesota recently settled a lawsuit against 3M caught our eye. That's the company whose chemicals were used by Wolverine Worldwide to water-proof shoes – chemicals that have now contaminated drinking water in the Grand Rapids area.

The $850 million settlement was over water contamination from similar chemicals that are all part of a broader group called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Studies suggest they're linked with various health problems, including cancers and miscarriages. And they've been found in groundwater in 28 sites in 14 communities around Michigan.

We wondered how the Minnesota lawsuit could inform Michigan's response to the PFAS contamination.

Elizabeth Dunbar covered this lawsuit for Minnesota Public Radio and joined Stateside today to explain what led to the lawsuit, why the state settled for much less than initially requested, what the state plans to do with that money, and what this might mean for states like Michigan seeking funds to alleviate problems with PFAS.

(Subscribe to the Stateside podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or with this RSS link)


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