The US industrial conglomerate 3M Co. has set 2025 as the date by which it will cease production of PFAS, the "forever chemicals" used in everything from cell phones to semiconductors and linked to cancer, heart disease, and low birth weight.
In recent years, dangerous concentrations of perfluoralkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been discovered in drinking water, soil, and food.
The damage caused by PFAS has increased legal pressure. The California attorney general filed a lawsuit last month against a number of businesses, including 3M and DuPont de Nemours and Company, to recover clean-up expenses.
Shareholders have also called for the production of the chemicals to stop. Earlier this year, investors managing $8 trillion in assets wrote to 54 companies urging them to phase out their use.
The Biden administration announced in August that it would propose classifying certain forever chemicals as hazardous substances under the U.S. Superfund program.
DuPont has stated that it will only use PFAS in "essential industrial applications" and will work with customers to find alternative solutions.
Five European nations—Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and the Netherlands—have been drafting a proposal to restrict the use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which they plan to submit in January.
In March of 2019, two scientific committees within the European Chemicals Agency are scheduled to issue assessments of potential restrictions on PFAS in firefighting foams.