Gov. Tony Evers and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul have announced that they’ve filed a lawsuit against three Wisconsin manufacturers and 15 other defendants for “wrongful, deceptive and tortious conduct” that has led directly to PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) contamination of Wisconsin’s water, property and natural resources.
The complaint, authorized by Evers and filed in Dane County by Kaul and the Wisconsin Department of Justice, alleges the defendants knew or should have known that the ordinary and intended use of their products would lead to dangerous impacts on public health and the environment.
“We’re taking immediate action to address PFAS in Wisconsin by ensuring accountability and responsibility for polluters and making sure Wisconsinites don’t have to foot the bill to clean up the messes that others have made,” Evers said.
The lawsuit details PFAS-related Wisconsin business activity over decades from each of the defendants that contributed to PFAS contamination in Wisconsin. The state seeks to recover all costs, expenses and damages associated with the conduct, including the costs of “investigating, abating, containing, preventing, treating, removing and remediating PFAS contamination in Wisconsin.”
PFAS are a group of chemicals used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water. They do not break down in the environment and can move through soils, contaminating drinking-water sources and building up in fish and wildlife, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Exposure in humans can occur by consuming PFAS-contaminated water or food or by using products that contain PFAS.