3M, a global chemical conglomerate & major producer of PFAS “forever chemicals,” has recently announced it will no longer be manufacturing PFAS chemicals as of 2025. This announcement comes on the heels of recent California & New York laws restricting PFAS chemicals in commerce and many brands reformulating. You’ve trusted Mamavation to bring you topics like best cookware without PFAS, best air fryers without PFAS, and best dental floss without PFAS. Now join us as we bring to you more details about the recent 3M announcement.
Disclosure: This post was medically reviewed by Sondra Strand, RN, BSN, PHN. This post also contains affiliate links.
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3M Announces End of Global PFAS Production
3M, the Creators of Scotchgard chemicals made from PFOS, announced this week it’s ending the manufacturing of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) completely by the year 2025 while focusing new efforts on manufacturing “safe” replacement chemicals. The current annual net sales of PFAS from 3M is a fraction of their overall sales at 3.7% or $1.3 billion per year.
“This is a movement that demands the kind of innovation 3M is known for,” said 3M Chairman and Chief Executive Mike Roman. “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.”
3M has also announced they will “continue to remediate PFAS and address litigation by defending ourselves in court or through negotiated resolutions” meaning they will continue to fight litigation demanding the cleanup of polluted areas with their PFAS chemicals. So it seems like 3M wants to be part of the solution, but they don’t want to be held responsible for the mess they have already created. Only time will tell if they are made to clean up polluted lands.
Critics of 3m have something to say about their toxic past. “It is outrageous that 3M, Chemours, Daikin, and other companies have been allowed to pollute people and the planet with the toxic “forever chemicals” PFAS for decades,” said Laurie Valeriano, executive director of Toxic-Free Future. “3M’s announcement is good news, but we call on the company to be transparent and only make the safest products based on green chemistry. 3M should not get any more chances to pollute drinking water, people, and wildlife and must be held accountable for its contamination.”
Toxic Free Future has been instrumental in addressing issues around PFAS in fabrics, cosmetics, food, and other consumer products.
PFAS “Forever Chemicals” Are Linked to Problematic Health Outcomes
PFAS “forever chemicals” represents one of the strongest bonds on the planet — the bond between fluorine and carbon. This bond is used in commerce to promote strength, durability, grease & water resistance, & stability in products. However, this chemistry comes with a cost. PFAS are problematic to human health and the environment for the same reasons — they do not break down and thus have been dubbed “forever chemicals.” They are considered ubiquitous, persistent, and toxic and many of these chemicals can last for years or decades in our bodies.
Below are listed health impacts from exposure to PFAS in general:
- Reduction in immunity
- Reduced vaccination response
- Increased risk of allergies & asthma in young children
- Affected growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children
- Increase cholesterol levels
- Metabolic diseases like obesity & diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
- Lowered a woman’s chance of getting pregnant
- Lowered male fertility
- Increased risk of kidney & testicular cancers
- Causes endocrine disruption
- Disrupted normal thyroid function
We may not be able to tell you if or how much PFAS will leach into the body from exposure around certain products. It’s also very clear based on biomonitoring evidence from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that PFAS resides in most Americans. Therefore, less of this chemical would be good for public health.
How Will 3M’s Announcement Impact My Family?
So how will 3M’s announcement impact your family? It doesn’t directly impact your family, but it will indirectly impact your family over time. It may mean less PFAS “forever chemicals” in general around your food, personal care products, & other consumer products. If you look at this trend as 3M following where the money is going, it will be apparent they are looking at some very specific issues.
- States are Leading the Charge. Given the States of California, New York, Washington & others are aggressively moving to restrict and ban PFAS “forever chemicals” in different categories of commerce, it’s expected we will start to see less and less of these chemicals in the United States as the years go on. In 2022, 14 states adopted 33 bills to address the PFAS crisis. This includes policies to hold polluters accountable. The very first state in the nation to ban an entire class of PFAS was Washington state. They took swift action on food packaging many years ago and this change has now spread to other states.
- Consumers Have Gotten Savvier. Consumers only need to go online to find a plethora of resources to assist them in avoiding PFAS. The use of social media has united scientists with non-traditional media sources and environmental organizations, influencers, and celebrities, to tell the story. Coupled with the fact that many consumer studies, including the 15+ consumer studies Mamavation has released, are assisting consumers on which products to purchase that don’t have indications of PFAS.
- Manufacturing PFAS is Now a Liability. 16 State Attorney Generals have initiated litigation against PFAS polluters. In addition to polluters, companies like Knix and Burts Bees (owned by behemoth Unilever) have also had litigation initiated against them for having detectable organic fluorine, a marker of PFAS, in their products. Some of these lawsuits have used consumer studies produced by Mamavation as evidence.
There are, of course, numerous other companies manufacturing these chemicals. But the point is, PFAS is trending out of favor, and as long as that trend continues, this will be good provided the replacement chemicals are non-toxic. In terms of how consumers nationwide will be protected, it may be varied. Many companies may decide to implement changes to their products nationwide, while other companies may expose people to PFAS in regions where there are no laws to protect the consumer.
Mamavation Tests Popular Swedish Jacket — Safer Solutions Already Exist
The textile industry, particularly, companies that produce jackets that are used for weather like snow or rain are going to be the ones to watch. Is it possible to manufacture jackets & coats without the use of PFAS “forever chemicals?” Mamavation did an investigation on jackets in 2021, and at the time, we tested a jacket from Patagonia that was advertised as PFAS-free. Our EPA-certified lab found 991 parts per million (ppm) total fluorine in that jacket, which is indicative of PFAS.
We were starting to get concerned about other “PFAS-free” claims so we sent a jacket from Swedish brand Fjallraven off to the same EPA-certified lab. Flajraven uses a proprietary mixture of paraffin and beeswax to protect consumers from cold and wet conditions without having to use per or polyfluorinated chemicals. We are happy to report that the following product had no detections of organic fluorine. In other words, our lab reported no indications of PFAS in that jacket.
- Fjallraven Expedition X-Latt Jacket (non-detect organic fluorine)
The manufacturing of really good jackets that can protect you from the cold and rain is going to be an important consumer category to watch. Our only issue with this brand is its lack of bigger sizing. Their clothing line only goes up to an XL which means that larger sizes like 2X or 3X are not available yet.
Now that we know it’s possible to use alternatives to combat the icy cold of Sweden and Norway, where these products are the most popular, we are wondering what is taking popular American companies so long? All the other categories of products like green beauty or dental floss are taking swift action to prevent PFAS contamination, but we’ve noticed a slow trickle of progress from American companies manufacturing jackets.
Here are two companies that need to change their ways.
- REI: Toxic-Free Future tested (1) REI Co-op Drypoint GTX Jacket for Men and detected 82,000 parts per million (ppm) total fluorine, (2) REI Co-op Westwinds GTX Jacket for Women — 83,300 parts per million (ppm) total fluorine, & (3) REI Rainwall Jacket for Kids — 1486 parts per million (ppm) total fluorine. Sign this petition to demand REI stop using PFAS in their products. (Let us know if you’ve purchased their products in the past in comments below because we may want a quote from you in the future.)
- Patagonia: Mamavation tested a jacket that was marketed as “PFAS-free” on the Patagonia website in 2021 and the lab reported they detected 901 ppm total fluorine, which indicates PFAS.
Consumer Studies on Indications of PFAS in Food & Consumer Products
If you are interested in avoiding PFAS in your food and other consumer products, Mamavation has commissioned several consumer studies on indications of PFAS in products to help. Each investigation listed below represents a category of consumer products Mamavation evaluated for you by sending products to an EPA-certified lab.
- Pasta & Tomato Sauces
- Nut Butters (Peanut butter, etc.)
- Cooking Oils (olive oil, almond oil, canola oil, etc)
- Activewear (Yoga Pants)
- Sports Bras
- Green Beauty Makeup
- Dental Floss
- Toilet Paper
- Period Underwear
- Sanitary Pads & Incontinence Pads
- Parchment Paper
- Bamboo Flooring
- Baby Strollers
- Children’s Probiotics