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Don't Drink the Water, cont'd.

Star Tribune, METRO AREA - Documents released by 3M show that more than two decades ago the company was concerned about the chemicals that have been seeping into local water supplies. [full story here]

3M released the documents1 in the civil suit that began in March. The document, from 1983, suggests that 3M employees were divided about PFCs.

Some were concerned that since the chemicals are particularly resistant to degrading, they could have lasting and dangerous effects in the environment. Others felt that the compounds were stable, and though they don't break down, they also are not harmful. Nevertheless, the report suggests that tests should be run.

3M kept manufacturing the chemicals until 2000, when it began phasing them out due to rising concern over the chemicals spreading into the nearby environment, as well as into the human bloodstream. Especially since one of the chemicals, PFOA, may be a carcinogen.

PFCs have been found in local water supplies, as well as in the Mississippi and Lake Calhoun. Earlier this month, state health officials cautioned against eating a lot of fish from these areas.

1 3M did not want all of the information disclosed. The residents' attorneys "inadvertantly included confidential portions" in both "written notes" to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and in the documents provided to the Star Tribune. Later, the attorneys asked for both agencies to return the documents. MPCA swapped out their copies for a redacted version, but the Star Tribune kept the unredacted files. The attorney's then moved to block the newspaper from publishing the information, but the motion was denied.

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