B.C. government sues makers of ‘forever chemicals’

The British Columbia government has filed a class-action lawsuit against manufacturers of so-called “forever chemicals,” involved in what it calls widespread contamination of drinking-water systems.

microsoft, b.c. government sues makers of ‘forever chemicals’

Attorney General Niki Sharma says the province is the first Canadian jurisdiction to sue makers of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS chemicals.

microsoft, b.c. government sues makers of ‘forever chemicals’
1:05 Vancouver Fire Rescue Services switch to non-toxic gear

B.C. has filed similar class-action lawsuits in the past, targeting tobacco manufacturers in 1998 and opioid makers in 2018 to recover health-care costs associated with those substances.

Sharma says in a statement that the province is filing the lawsuit to “ensure that companies that created the problem, and profited from these chemicals, pay their fair share.”

The lawsuit targets 12 companies that include firms associated with the chemical giants 3M, DuPont and BASF.

The latest health and medical news emailed to you every Sunday.

It says the defendants knew that when their products were used as directed, “toxic PFAS chemicals would be released, would contaminate the environment for centuries, and would pose significant threats to human health.”

“The defendants did not warn the Canadian public of the dangers posed by their PFAS-containing products or take any steps to modify or remove their products to avoid these harms — instead, they concealed and affirmatively contradicted the known dangers in public statements and marketing campaigns designed to enrich themselves at the public’s expense,” says the lawsuit, filed Friday in the Supreme Court of B.C. in Vancouver.

microsoft, b.c. government sues makers of ‘forever chemicals’
2:13 Canada considers ‘forever chemicals’ ban of cancer-causing agents

According to the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, exposure to PFAS products may lead to childhood obesity, weakened immune systems and certain types of cancer.

University of B.C. chemical and biological engineering professor Madjid Mohseni said PFAS products are “very ubiquitous” in daily life, and can be found in many consumer products.

These include non-stick cookware and food packaging with waxy coatings, waterproof clothing and stain-resistant carpets, said Mohseni.

He said the chemicals contain a carbon-fluorine bond, the strongest bond in organic chemistry, earning them the “forever chemical” nickname.

microsoft, b.c. government sues makers of ‘forever chemicals’
5:39 UBC scientist develop treatment for ‘forever chemicals’ in household items

“These carbon-fluorine bonds are extremely resilient and extremely strong, they cannot be broken down easily,” he said.

“Once you manufacture these products, they are very difficult to degrade and be removed, so they stay in the environment for years.”

Mohseni said research has linked the chemicals to health problems, including thyroid disease, kidney disease, and cancer.

“They make our lives very easy and convenient. Unfortunately, the downside is that they are bringing harm to our environment and also our public health,” said Mohseni.

— By Chuck Chiang and Nono Shen in Vancouver

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 21, 2024.

More on Health

OTHER NEWS

31 minutes ago

Infamous Chicago cop is seen in disgusting confrontation just two years after beating Cubs fan outside Wrigley Field while saying 'I love this part, free shots'

31 minutes ago

Trump's granddaughter Carolina, 4, steals the hearts of the Republican convention as she sits on his lap to watch dad Eric speak

31 minutes ago

Golf pro at Donald Trump's Florida club reveals how good he REALLY is on the course after bizarre Joe Biden row

31 minutes ago

Melania Trump makes entrance at RNC, glows as crowd welcomes her after Donald’s assassination attempt

31 minutes ago

Joe Biden can’t stop bashing the press as his political career careens to conclusion

31 minutes ago

Are we on the brink of another Nasdaq crash?

31 minutes ago

Browns Rival Steelers Announce New Play-By-Play Broadcaster

31 minutes ago

Art exhibition tells stories of 1924 Paris Olympics

31 minutes ago

The Formula E title protagonists aiming for glory in London

31 minutes ago

Olympic Village opens eight days before start of Paris Games

31 minutes ago

I'm a property expert... here are 7 tips to ensure you home sells

34 minutes ago

Watch: Trump to deliver keynote speech at Republican National Convention

34 minutes ago

Samsung Electronics and striking union to resume talks

38 minutes ago

Federal appeals court dismisses lawsuit over Tennessee’s anti-drag show ban

38 minutes ago

Russell Brand, Hulk Hogan, Jason Aldean: Celebrities at the RNC in Milwaukee

40 minutes ago

Video: Fury as lawless Leeds is left to burn for HOURS as riot police are driven out by thugs: Terrified residents plead with rabble to stop after cop car tipped and bus torched on night of shame - with officers only returning to restore order at 1am

40 minutes ago

Video:

40 minutes ago

Video: Tucker Carlson says Trump became the 'leader of a nation' after he was shot and compares Biden to a 'mannequin' and 'dead person' in speech to Republican convention

40 minutes ago

5 Unanswered Questions for the Los Angeles Chargers Leading Up to Training Camp

40 minutes ago

Liverpool legend joins Cesc Fabregas at Como with former Manchester United star to follow

40 minutes ago

‘We’ve come here to win’: Snubbed Georgia aim to seize global respect by rolling Wallabies

40 minutes ago

Apology and €2.1m award for man with Parkinson’s who suffered brain injury after heart attack during CT scan

40 minutes ago

Hunter Biden wants gun and tax cases tossed, citing Trump dismissal challenged by President Biden's DOJ

40 minutes ago

Bryson DeChambeau’s new-found British love cannot mask his Open struggles

40 minutes ago

These stocks stand to benefit if a Trump White House adopts a tougher stance on China

40 minutes ago

Summer heat is making soda cans explode on Southwest flights

40 minutes ago

Kaia Gerber shows off her comfy model off duty style as she runs errands in NYC - after romantic date night with Austin Butler

40 minutes ago

Video: The Simpsons' Hank Azaria shares hilarious clip of him attempting to make a King's Guard laugh by doing impersonations of his famous characters including Chief Wiggum and Moe

40 minutes ago

Lou Dobbs, conservative news host, dies at 78

40 minutes ago

Outsider Daniel Brown grabs shock first-round lead at the Open

40 minutes ago

If the Trump classified documents case is reinstated, Judge Aileen Cannon would be difficult to remove

40 minutes ago

Hear what Bob Newhart said to unemployed comedian who asked for advice (1995)

40 minutes ago

China's QJ Motor Aims to Shake Up Entry-Level ADV Segment, Drops New Motorcycle

40 minutes ago

Xbox Dropped the Ball With Palworld

40 minutes ago

How weather and landscape set the stage for Toronto's latest flood

40 minutes ago

Zenyatta is No Longer The Overwatch Hero Who Needs Lore The Most

40 minutes ago

NWS confirms 3 additional tornadoes among 22 total from Monday outbreak, tying regional record

40 minutes ago

What Is The Shrek 5 Plot? Reddit Has Some Ideas (Brace Yourself, It Gets Weird)

40 minutes ago

Patriots player profile: Marcus Jones is a rare player in today’s NFL

40 minutes ago

My daughter died without a will, but her undocumented husband refuses to claim her estate. Will her money be lost to the state?