U.S. industrial conglomerate 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM) known best for Post-It notes, Scotch tape, and Scotchgard says it will stop making controversial per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) by the end of 2025.
PFAS, commonly known as “forever chemicals,” are found in hundreds of household items including nonstick frying pans, water-repellent sports gear, stain-resistant rugs, cosmetics and countless other consumer products. These chemicals do not break down quickly, and in recent years have been found in dangerous concentrations in drinking water, soils, and foods. PFAS have been linked to a number of health problems including cancer, heart problems, and low birth rates.
The announcement marks a historic break with an entire class of chemicals — consisting of thousands of variations on the carbon-fluorine bond — that were first created as part of World War II-era atomic bomb research. 3M developed a variety of products with them over more than 70 years. The company’s current net sales of manufactured PFAS are about $1.3 billion.
U.S. environmental regulators recently designated the chemicals as hazardous substances under the Superfund law.