BASF Settles PFAS Water Contamination Lawsuits With U.S. Communities for $316.5 Million

First $4 million of the PFAS settlement will be paid in July, with the remaining amount to be paid next March to resolve BASF water contamination lawsuits

BASF has agreed to pay $316.5 million to resolve liability the company faces in lawsuits brought by dozens of cities and municipalities nationwide, over widespread water contamination caused by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contained in firefighting foam and other products manufactured by the company.

While PFAS chemicals have been used in a variety of different consumer products in recent decades, most of the problems linked to the chemicals stem from large volumes contained in aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), which has been widely used by the military and firefighters for decades to fight fuel-based fires.

During training and response exercises, these PFAS chemicals have been dumped into the environment and local water supplies, particularly around military bases, airports and firefighter training locations, causing many communities to have dangerous levels of the chemicals in the drinking water. As a result, local water providers have filed lawsuits against BASF, 3M Company, DuPont and other companies, to recover damages for the costs associated with cleaning up the water supply.

The settlement does not resolve PFAS water contamination lawsuits brought by individuals living in these communities, or AFFF lawsuits brought by firefighters directly exposed to the chemicals, which involve claims for damages associated with the development of testicular cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, ulcerative colities and other injuries.

Firefighting Foam Lawsuits

Were you or a loved one exposed to toxic AFFF Chemicals?

Lawyers are reviewing aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) lawsuits for firefighters, military personnel and individuals who developed cancer or other health issues from exposure to toxic firefighting foam chemicals.


BASF PFAS Water Contamination Settlement Agreement

The BASF water provider settlement was announced on May 21, involving a $4 million payment in July 2024, with the remaining $312.5 million to be paid in March 2025. However, the company indicates that the agreement does not involve any admission of guilt.

The deal was reached months after a much larger PFAS settlement with 3M Company, which provides between $10.5 billion and 12.5 billion to cover remediation costs to remove the toxic chemicals from drinking water supplies nationwide.

Similar settlements have also been reached by DuPont, Chemguard and Tyco Fire Products.

Given continuing concerns about the high levels of PFAS being found in water supplies nationwide, the EPA announced earlier this year that new national drinking water PFAS standards will be enforced, establishing limits for five different types of PFAS: perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS), and C3 Dimer Acid (HFPO-DA); also known as GenX, as well as any combination of two or more of these chemicals. The new rule sets a Maximum Containment Level for PFOA and PFOS at 4 parts per trillion, and 10 parts per trillion for PFNA, PFHxS and GenX chemicals.

The EPA estimates that the new limits will need to be addressed by between 6% and 10% of the U.S.’s 66,000 public drinking water systems. All such systems will have three years to complete initial monitoring and must inform the public of the levels of PFAS detected. When PFAS levels rise above the maximum containment levels, the system will have five years to reduce those levels to meet EPA standards.

May 2024 PFAS Injury Lawsuits Status Update

The PFAS water provider lawsuits do not resolve any of the pending personal injury lawsuits, which are all currently centralized before U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel in the District of South Carolina, given common questions of fact and law presented.

To help the parties gauge how juries may respond to certain evidence and testimony that will be repeated throughout the remaining lawsuits, Judge Gergel issued a case management order last year, which directed the parties to prepare a group of 28 PFAS injury claims to serve as a bellwether pool, which will be prepared for a series of early trial dates.

The initial bellwether trials will focus on plaintiffs who say they were exposed to PFAS through drinking contaminated water, as opposed to direct exposure claims brought by firefighters.

The personal injury bellwether claims will include eight kidney cancer claims, eight testicular cancer claims, eight thyroid disease claims and four ulcerative colitis claims involving individuals exposed to contaminated water near Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, the Willow Grove Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base and the Naval Air Warfare Center in Warminster.

While the outcome of these early bellwether trials will not have any binding impact on other claims, it is expected that the amount of any AFFF lawsuit payout awarded by juries may influence future firefighter cancer settlement negotiations to resolve the litigation.


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