OAG takes action against additional defendants Guam’s PFAS case; AG Camacho joins coalition urging Congress to take a strong stance on PFAS in military budget

October 29, 2020 – Tamuning, Guam- The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has taken action against additional defendants in its lawsuit to hold manufacturers and distributors of aqueous film-forming foams that contain Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – also known as “forever chemicals” – liable for the harmful effects of their product.

PFAS chemicals have been linked to adverse health effects such as infertility, birth defects, and an increase in risk of certain cancers. Although PFAS has not been detected in Guam’s drinking water, several water wells have tested above the Environmental Protection Agency’s health advisory levels and two wells have been rendered inoperable.

The OAG sued eight companies last year alleging that they engaged in false, misleading and deceptive acts about the risks posed by their products. The OAG added Arkema Inc., AGC Chemicals, Americas, Inc.; Dynax Corporation; Clariant Corporation DuPont De Nemours, Inc.; and Corteve, Inc., to the list of liable manufacturers, alongside The 3M Company, Tyco Fire Products LP, Chemguard Inc., Buckeye Fire Equipment Company, Kidde-Fenwal Inc., National Foam Inc., E.I. Du Point De Nemours and Co., and The Chemours Company to its complaint.

The PFAS Multi-District Litigation (MDL) case is pending in the District Court of South Carolina in the discovery phase, but is set to proceed during the following months. During the discovery phase, parties exchange evidence and witness information. Read the amended complaint here.

While the lawsuit is seeking to address contamination on Guam, Attorney General Camacho has also joined in efforts to address PFAS contamination at the national level. Earlier this month, Attorney General Camacho and 19 other attorneys general urged congress to protect communities that house military installations and service members from PFAS contamination when they finalize the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The attorney general coalition calls on Congressional leadership among other things to:

• Provide additional funding and authorization for PFAS cleanup and research into development of safe PFAS disposal mechanisms and alternatives to PFAS-laden firefighting aqueous film-forming foam;
• Limit what PFAS-containing products the Department of Defense can procure; and
• Require the Department of Defense to engage in meaningful stakeholder communication, including promptly publishing results of drinking, surface or groundwater PFAS testing.

“Our ongoing multi-district litigation lawsuit targets manufacturers for the production and distribution of AFFF, but as an island that hosts extensive military installations, it’s important we address PFAS contamination from all angles, including changes in federal law,” said Attorney General Camacho.

Read a copy of the coalition’s letter regarding PFAS provisions to the NDAA here.

Last year, Attorney General Camacho joined 21 other attorneys general in a letter to Congress asking that PFAS be designated as a “hazardous substance” under federal law and for funding to remediate PFAS-contaminated drinking water supplies. To read that letter, click here.