3M, the company behind Scotch tape and Post-It notes, will discontinue manufacturing controversial per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds by the end of 2025. (PFAS).
“Forever chemicals” are used to make coatings and other materials that can endure heat, oil, grease, and water, and are used in many common household items. According to the most recent studies, these compounds are much more hazardous to human health than originally thought and may even be more toxic at doses that are thousands of times lower.
3M acknowledged that laws are tightening up on the chemicals in a statement released on Tuesday, stating that their choice was “based on careful analysis and a thorough examination of the shifting external situation.”
“While PFAS can be safely made and used, we also see an opportunity to lead in a rapidly evolving external regulatory and business landscape to make the greatest impact for those we serve,” said 3M CEO Mike Roman in a statement to CNN. “This action is another example of how we are positioning 3M for continued sustainable growth by optimizing our portfolio, innovating for our customers, and delivering long-term value for our shareholders.”
The company estimates that the discontinuation of PFAS would result in a financial loss of between $1.3 billion and $2.3 billion over the following several years. PFAS, however, only makes up a “tiny fraction” of 3M’s (MMM) business, the company claimed.
Manufacturers of two of the most widely used everlasting chemicals, PFOS and PFOA, have voluntarily discontinued making them during the past ten years.
The US Food and Drug Administration phased down the use of numerous PFAS chemicals at the federal level in 2016. To gradually remove specific PFAS compounds from food packaging and other products that come into contact with food, the FDA and manufacturers reached an agreement in 2020. Environmental monitoring by the FDA indicates that the substances do, however, have a propensity to remain.