Dane County sues foam makers over PFAS pollution

May 3, 2022 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Dane County officials are suing dozens of firefighting foam manufacturers alleging their products contaminated the area around the county’ airport.

The Wisconsin State Journal reported Tuesday that the county is seeking unspecified damages from dozens of companies, including DuPont, 3M and Johnson Controls. The county alleges the manufacturers sold foam for decades despite knowing it contained PFAS and failed to warn consumers and the public of the chemicals’ dangers. Court records indicate the county filed the lawsuit on April 26.

The city of La Crosse filed a similar lawsuit last year. The state Department of Justice sued Johnson Controls in March over PFAS contamination near Marinette.


A Waukesha County judge last month, however, ruled that the state Department of Natural Resources lacks authority to regulate PFAS because the state hasn’t set any limits on the chemicals. It’s unclear what effect that ruling could have on the other lawsuits.

PFAS is an acronym for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, man-made chemicals used in non-stick cookware and firefighting foam. Research suggests they can cause health problems in humans, including decreased fertility, developmental delays in children, increased risk of some cancers and a weakened immune system, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.