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3 Companies to Pay Over $1 Billion in Settlement Over 'Forever Chemicals' Allegedly Contaminating U.S. Water Systems Polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, are nearly impossible to break down and can have serious consequences to human health and the environment.

By Madeline Garfinkle Edited by Jessica Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Bloomberg | Getty Images
A DuPont ethanol plant stands in Nevada, Iowa, U.S., on Jan. 30, 2016.

Three chemical manufacturing companies, Chemours, DuPont and Corteva, announced on Friday that they will settle claims that "forever chemicals" were used in manufacturing and then contaminated U.S. public water systems serving a "vast majority" of the country's population.

In total, the companies will collectively pay $1.185 billion to a settlement fund. Chemours will pay nearly half of the settlement (about $592 million); DuPont will pay about $400 million; and Corteva will pay about $193 million.

"This is an impressive step toward righting a corporate wrong that threatened the health of all Americans," Scott Summy, one of the lawyers leading the PFAS litigation, told Bloomberg. "DuPont has decided to put money into water systems' hands today rather than delaying payment for years of trial."

Related: PVC Plastics Are Polluting Our Planet. This Startup Has a Solution.

Polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS, are commonly dubbed "forever chemicals" due to their near-impossible ability to be broken down. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, PFAS pose severe risks to the environment and human health, such as learning delays in youth, increased risk of cancer and increased cholesterol levels.

Last year, Burger King and McDonald's were both hit with class-action lawsuits over the use of forever chemicals after a Consumer Reports investigation found dangerous levels of PFAS in the fast-food chains' packaging.

Related: This Eco-Friendly Disposable Diaper Aims to Disrupt Its Industry

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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