On Friday, three agricultural chemical companies, DuPont de Nemours, Corteva, and The Chemours Company, announced that they entered a memorandum of understanding including a $4 billion settlement regarding their use of “forever chemicals,” toxic chemicals also known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
PFAS chemicals are used to create non-stick or waterproof items as well as carpet, fabric, and firefighting foam. As a result, they are prevalent in some environments and allegedly can cause lasting harm because of their longevity. The legal dispute against these companies reportedly began when Chemours split from DuPont in 2015.
According to the companies’ press release, the agreement replaces a February 2017 settlement and an amendment to the separation agreement between Chemours and DuPont. DuPont and Corteva agreed to pay 50 percent of the expenses and Chemours will pay the other 50 percent. The parties agreed to make the final payments before the end of 20 years and before the parties have spent the amount in escrow contributions. Additionally, over the next eight years, the companies will establish an escrow account containing $1 billion which can be used for future liabilities.
Along with this settlement, the same companies, DuPont, Corteva, and Chemours, agreed to resolve multi-district litigation being held in Ohio courts regarding allegations that the PFAS entered waterways causing diseases due to the companies’ behaviors. That settlement includes an $83 million payment split between the parties, which will resolve almost 100 filings that were filed since the 2017 settlement and some matters which have not yet been filed.
Ed Breen, DuPont Chairman and CEO; Jim Collins, Corteva CEO; and Mark Vergnano, Chemours President and CEO said in the press release that “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. 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.”