Michigan-based Wolverine Worldwide Inc.–owner of Merrell, Saucony, and Chaco–and Scotchgard water repellent manufacturer 3M have agreed to pay a $54 million, class-action settlement to residents of Kent County, Michigan, in connection with the dumping of chemicals that impacted the drinking water of 1,700 property owners.
The settlement has been tentatively approved by http://c9d75o88s1kx0pb9har4mj0p54.hop.clickbank.net District Judge Hala Jarbou, who called it “fair, reasonable, adequate, and meets the standards for preliminary approval.” A final hearing will take place March 29, 2023.
Wolverine is accused in a 2017 class-action suit of dumping waste products containing PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in Michigans’s northern Kent County, affecting the water quality of area residents. The chemicals were the result of activity that happened at the company’s Rockford tannery more than a decade ago. That plant closed in 2009.
Dangerous Chemicals in the Water
PFAS are used as a water-resistant agent in outdoor products, and are increasingly coming under fire as “forever chemicals” that don’t break down into inert substances. Some studies have linked PFAS exposure with an increased risk of cancer.
Wolverine uses the water repellency product Scotchgard—developed by 3M—in the making of footwear under its Merrill, Hush Puppies, and Sperry brands. The chemicals implicated in this lawsuit were part of the Scotchgard line. The lawsuit accuses Wolverine of discarding the PFAS-laced sludge near the Rogue River at its Rockford factory, where it seeped into ground and contaminated drinking water.
This settlement is only the latest development stemming from Wolverine’s industrial pollution in Michigan. In 2019, the company made a $http://c9d75o88s1kx0pb9har4mj0p54.hop.clickbank.net million deal with the state of Michigan and the townships of Plainfield and Algoma to extend water lines to properties whose wells were contaminated by the dumped of PFAS. Of that sum, $55 million was paid by 3M. Wolverine also agreed to maintain water filters for homes not on a public water system as part of that deal.
Neither Wolverine nor 3M have disclosed how much each company will pay of the $54 million settlement. In a statement, Wolverine said the settlement is in line with “doing the right thing for our community.”
Publicly traded Wolverine Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: WWW) is valued at more than $http://c9d75o88s1kx0pb9har4mj0p54.hop.clickbank.net billion.
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