Press Releases


Attorney General Tong sues 28 chemical manufacturers for knowingly contaminating Connecticut water and natural resources, and harming public health with toxic PFAS “Forever Chemicals”

(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong today filed two lawsuits against 28 chemical manufacturers responsible for knowingly contaminating Connecticut waters and natural resources and harming public health with toxic PFAS “forever chemicals.” The two complaints seek to hold the companies responsible for dangerous PFAS chemical contamination from two sources—aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) used in firefighting, and chemicals used in manufacturing and added to consumer products, such as food packaging, cookware, carpeting, upholstery, clothing, and cosmetics, to make products resistant to stains, water, and heat.


Today, nearly all humans have PFAS in their blood. PFAS chemicals are toxic and can persist in the environment indefinitely. PFAS chemicals can travel through the environment, including into drinking water sources, and accumulate in human blood. Even modest releases of PFAS can cause widespread pollution and damage. PFAS is known to cause severe adverse human health effects, including increased risk of kidney, breast, pancreas, prostate, and testicular cancers, liver damage, decreased birth weight and birth defects, decreased vaccine response, high cholesterol, infertility, and diabetes.


The complaints seek both injunctive and monetary relief—compelling the companies to dispose of their toxic chemical stocks, abate all pollution in Connecticut, disclose all research, and to compensate the state for past and future remediation and testing expenses. The complaints seek tens of thousands of dollars per day in penalties for widespread violations of numerous state laws dating back decades.


“PFAS chemicals are a toxic menace to human health and our environment. These companies knew the truth decades ago, and they buried the evidence and lied to all of us. Because of that, we are dealing with widespread contamination of drinking water and natural resources across Connecticut. We are seeking to hold some of the world’s largest chemical manufacturers accountable for this massive public health and environmental catastrophe. We are demanding that these companies pay to remediate this pollution and are penalized so that nothing like this ever happens again.  We are also demanding that these companies come clean and disclose all of their hidden research to ensure our state, and our country, has what we need to remediate this threat and protect families,” said Attorney General Tong.


“Occupational cancer is the number one killer of firefighters and is responsible for nearly 75% of annual Line-of-Duty deaths. Exposure to PFAS chemicals is a leading factor in our increased risk. We need to hold these manufacturers accountable and remove these deadly carcinogens from our equipment, stationwear, and turnout gear so that the next generation of firefighters can remain cancer-free,” said Peter Brown, President of the Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association.


In 2021, Governor Ned Lamont signed Public Act 21-191, which enacted a law prohibiting PFAS from being used in firefighting foam and food packaging.


“In recent years we’ve enacted strict laws in Connecticut banning the use of PFAS in certain products because these toxic chemicals can easily get into our water streams and can cause significant harm to drinking water,” Governor Ned Lamont said. “There are safer alternatives that companies can use, and those that continue to manufacture products containing PFAS are potentially causing harm to the people who live and visit our state.”


“DEEP applauds the efforts of Attorney General Tong and his staff in pursuing legal action against those responsible for the presence of PFAS pollution in Connecticut's environment,” said Katie Dykes, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. “Identifying and minimizing the risk posed to Connecticut residents by these ‘forever chemicals’ has been a priority of the Lamont Administration since the creation of the Connecticut Interagency PFAS Task Force in 2019. Since that time, DEEP has been hard at work, along with its sister agencies on the Task Force, conducting sampling to identify the presence of PFAS in our state, and implementing measures to remove PFAS from our environment and minimize future releases, including a successful AFFF takeback program, and banning most AFFF uses and intentionally-added PFAS in food packaging.”


“Corporations need to be held accountable for their environmental and health impacts, especially when they knowingly cause harm. By filing this complaint, we strive to deter future harm to public health and obtain critical information to address the damage to Connecticut residents from harmful chemicals like PFAS,” said Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Bryan T. Cafferelli.


“Because PFAS contaminants have been introduced into our communities, public health has had to identify a path forward to protect the residents of Connecticut. The Connecticut Department of Public Health has established drinking water action levels for 10 PFAS which have been identified to have the most impact on human health,” said Department of Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani, MD, who co-chairs the State’s PFAS Task Force. “DPH recommends that all public water systems test their drinking water for PFAS and those that exceed a drinking water action level take steps to inform their customers and limit exposure. Residents of Connecticut deserve to know that when they turn on the tap, the water they drink is safe.”


Commissioner Juthani added that anyone interested in learning more about PFAS and the DPH drinking water action levels for PFAS can visit


“We applaud and support Attorney General Tong’s lawsuits against PFAS manufacturers and distributors,’’ said Ronnell Higgins, Commissioner of the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection. “The department, through its Fire Prevention and Control Division, continues to partner with local fire departments to eliminate AFFF foam containing the deadly chemical PFAS. Working with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, we collected and disposed of over 35,000 gallons of AFFF containerized firefighting foam from fire departments statewide.  Currently, with the Governor and General Assembly’s support, we created a program for municipalities and fire districts to be reimbursed for the cost of draining, rinsing and proper disposal of AFFF from fire pumper trucks with on-board foam systems.  This effort will continue for some time as it is estimated over 400 fire apparatus throughout Connecticut have foam systems on their apparatus.”                 


"As a nurse and environmental health advocate, I want to thank Attorney General Tong and his staff for their strong and consistent leadership on holding polluters accountable for the harms caused by toxic PFAS chemicals.  The Attorney General's action assures that the burden of dealing with this toxic contamination does not fall on the backs of Connecticut residents or the state,” said Anne Hulick, Connecticut Director for Clean Water Action.


PFAS Contamination in Connecticut


PFAS contamination in Connecticut is well documented and widespread. In Connecticut alone, thousands of sites are contaminated with PFAS.


PFAS products have contaminated public water systems in Manchester and Norwalk, among other areas. PFAS have been detected in the Connecticut River in Hartford, in Farmington and Windsor on the Farmington River, in Vernon on the Hockanum River, in Beacon Falls on the Naugatuck River, in Bristol on the Pequabuck River, in Wallingford on the Quinnipiac River, and in Somers on the Scantic River. The Connecticut Department of Health has issued PFAS-related consumption advisories for fish caught throughout or in portions of the Connecticut, Farmington, Hockanum, Housatonic, Natchaug, Naugatuck, Pequabuck, Quinnipiac, Scantic, Shetucket, Still, Tankerhoosen, and Willimantic rivers. State agencies are currently investigating PFAS contamination of shellfish beds in the Long Island Sound.


Contamination specific to AFFF firefighting foam is also well documented. PFAS have been detected in private wells and the town’s water supply in Killingworth, attributable to discharge of AFFF foam at the Fire Training Area and Fire Department in Killingworth. Numerous additional locations are known to be contaminated by AFFF products, including Cherry Brook Primary School in Canton, the Farmington River due to discharges at Bradley International Airport, communities in New London and Groton near the Naval Submarine Base, Windham near the Eastern Connecticut Fire School, and more. PFAS contamination attributable to AFFF has been detected in drinking water in East Hampton and at the Mystic Oral School for the Deaf in Groton.


Since 2001, the State is aware of at least 200 reported emergency incidents where AFFF was likely deployed.


The state has already invested substantial time and funds to address PFAS contamination in Connecticut. In 2019, after tens of thousands of gallons of water along with PFAS-containing firefighting foam spilled from the private Signature Flight hangar at Bradley Airport into the Farmington River, Governor Ned Lamont established the Interagency PFAS Task Force. The Task Force led by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Connecticut Department of Public Health, was charged with developing a statewide PFAS strategy, released in November 2019.


In 2021, the state banned use of AFFF in most circumstances and required DEEP to implement an AFFF take-back program. Since then, over 35,000 gallons of AFFF concentrate have been recovered from 250 municipal fire departments. The take-back program still needs to replace and dispose of AFFF contained in approximately 342 municipal fire trucks, and additional fire boats, fire extinguishers and other containers of AFFF concentrate.


Manufacturers Knew the Dangers, Buried the Evidence, and Lied to the Public


The complaints charge that the companies knew as early as the 1950s that PFAS chemicals were toxic, highly persistent, and likely to spread to groundwater and contaminate the environment. Instead of protecting the public, the companies buried the evidence, lied to the public, and continued to manufacture products they knew were killing people and causing permanent environmental harm.


Testing conducted by 3M in the 1970s found a “universal presence” of PFAS in human blood samples across the United States mirroring chemicals used in its Scotchgard and Teflon products. Animal studies in the 1970s led 3M to conclude that PFAS “should be regarded as highly toxic.” One such study was aborted when all test monkeys died within the first days or weeks of ingesting PFAS-contaminated food. The company moved women employees “of childbearing potential” off its production lines, yet continued to claim publicly that its products were “safe” and refused to cease production. DuPont was similarly aware, issuing internal warnings as early as the 1960s that the chemicals should be “handled with extreme care.” In 1964, DuPont employees working in Teflon manufacturing developed chills, fever, difficulty breathing, and tightness in the chest—symptoms identified as “Teflon flu.” In 1980, the company internally confirmed, but never publicly acknowledged that PFAS “is toxic,” that the chemicals accumulate in human tissues, and that “continued exposure is not tolerable.” The company knew that PFAS could cross the placenta from an exposed woman to her fetus, yet concealed its knowledge and misled its employees and the public about these risks.


In 1981, DuPont began secretly monitoring female employees exposed to PFAS and conducted blood sampling of those who were pregnant. Of the eight women who gave birth during this period, two of the eight children were born with defects to their eyes and face, and a third child had PFAS detected in their umbilical cord.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency filed administrative actions against both 3M and DuPont for concealing what they knew about the dangers of PFAS, securing a $16.5 million settlement with DuPont in 2005 and a $1.5 million settlement with 3M in 2006.


3M, DuPont and others in the industry concealed the truth about PFAS and pushed for continued use of the chemicals it knew to be highly dangerous. The Fire Fighting Foam Coalition was formed in 2001, representing manufacturers of AFFF firefighting foams. The Coalition worked together to protect PFAS products from scrutiny, and to enable the continued use of PFAS-containing firefighting foam, including by the military and aviation industry.


Charges and Requested Relief


The AFFF complaint lists 20 counts against 28 defendants, including public nuisance, trespass, negligence, fraud and negligent misrepresentation, civil conspiracy, violations of the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act, violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, and violations of the Connecticut Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act.


The non-AFFF complaint lists 16 counts against six defendants, including public nuisance, trespass, negligence, violations of the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act, violations of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, and violations of the Connecticut Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act.


The complaints seek both injunctive and monetary relief, including ordering the companies to abate all PFAS pollution in Connecticut, remove and dispose of AFFF stocks in Connecticut, and release all research related to PFAS health and environmental effects, and compensatory damages related to PFAS pollution to natural resources and properties. The complaint seeks to recover past and future costs related to testing and monitoring of PFAS and remediation of harm to drinking water, soil, and wildlife. The complaints further seek civil penalties of tens of thousands of dollars per day for various violations of state laws, and compensation for all expenses paid by the state in responding to PFAS pollution.


Assistant Attorneys General Christopher Kelly, Michael Lynch and Julia Suesser and Deputy Associate Attorney General Matthew Levine, Chief of the Environment Section assisted the Attorney General in this matter.