DuPont & Others to Pay $4B for “Forever Chemicals” Liabilities

DuPont de Nemours, Corteva and the Chemours Co. said in a statement last week they have jointly committed $4 billion to cover liabilities for their past use of harmful, toxic substances known as “forever chemicals” and will pay $83 million to settle litigation in multiple Ohio districts over the pollutants.

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Formerly a single entity, E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., the three publicly traded companies have been entrenched in litigation with and against each other for several years. Hoping to bring an end to most of the proceedings, the entities have reached a settlement in MDL (multi-district litigation) and their respective separation agreements.

“We are pleased to have reached a settlement agreement between our companies related to potential legacy PFAS liabilities, as well as resolving the remaining PFOA MDL cases in Ohio,” they said. “The agreement will provide a measure of security and certainty for each company and our respective shareholders using a transparent process to address and resolve any potential future legacy PFAS matters.”

PFAS and PFOA chemicals are known as  “forever chemicals” for their longevity in the human body and in the natural environment. They are associated with a range of adverse health impacts including developmental and reproductive problems, increased risk of cancers in the liver and kidney, and immunological effects.

DuPont and agricultural giant Corteva splitting “certain qualified expenses” that pop up over the next 20 years, as long as they don’t add up to more than $2 billion. Chemours will be responsible for footing the remaining $2 billion promised toward liabilities connected to conduct prior to 2015.

Per the terms of the separation agreement, DuPont and Corteva will split incurred expenses over the next 20 years, not to exceed more than $2 billion. Chemours will have to pay the other $2 billion themselves.

In the same press release, the companies said they reached an $83 million settlement to resolve Ohio multi-district litigation over liabilities related to its use of the harmful chemical PFOA, perflueorootanoic acid, which was previously used by DuPont to manufacture nonstick products like Teflon.

The current MDL includes claims brought after DuPont and Chemours reached a $671 million agreement in 2017 to resolve previous litigation claims over DuPont dumping former Teflon ingredient C8, or PFOT, into the air and water from a plant on the Ohio River. This activity occurred for decades and allegedly caused cancer clusters in surrounding areas.

Again in this instance, DuPont and Corteva will each pay an equal $27 million and Chemours will foot the largest bill, paying the remaining $29 million.

The two agreements end 95 ongoing proceedings related to the liabilities and several suits amongst the entities, however one MDL suit remains in the appeal phase.

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