healthy cooking and harsh chemicals concept, stainless steel vs non stick saucepan side by side with Non Toxic label on the first one

Listen to the story here.

By Mike Moen

December 21, 2022   

South Dakota and all other states have seen the effects of so-called “forever chemicals.”

Those pushing for their removal say 3M’s announcement it will phase them out is another step in the right direction. The major manufacturer of products from cleaning supplies to Post-it Notes said it plans to ensure it’s no longer producing items containing PFAS chemicals by the year 2025.

John Rumpler, clean water program director for Environment America, said it is an important step in trying to reduce harmful pollutants from reaching natural resources.

“PFAS chemicals are toxic, and they persist in the environment,” Rumpler explained. “They’ve been contaminating drinking water sources all across the country.”

The chemicals were also used in firefighting foam, and the City of Sioux Falls took legal action against 3M and other companies over the presence of PFAS in the soil and groundwater near the city’s airport. 3M said it made the decision based on changes in the business and regulatory landscape.

In August, the federal Environmental Protection Agency said it would propose designating certain PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances.

Other companies, such as retailers and restaurants, have made similar pledges to eliminate or reduce forever chemicals in food packaging, textiles and other products. Still, Rumpler argued others need to follow suit, and hopes Tuesday’s announcement will spur more action.

“3M is hardly the only game in town,” Rumpler pointed out. “But it is a major player in the industry space and a significant marker for its peers about moving in the right direction.”

As part of the evolving research surrounding PFAS contamination, experts have linked the chemicals to multiple health risks, including increased risk of kidney or testicular cancer, as well as small decreases in infant birthweights.


Announcement 3M 12/20/2022
Proposed rules EPA 08/26/2022