Attorney General Mayes Sues Polluters to Improve and Protect Arizona’s Water Quality

PHOENIX–Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes today announced she has filed suit against manufacturers of products that contain per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (or “PFAS”), a class of man-made chemical compounds causing widespread pollution of the State’s groundwater. Defendants include 3M and DuPont, among others.

“These companies have known for decades that so-called ‘forever chemicals’ would contaminate water supplies for generations to come but chose to sell their products anyway,” said Attorney General Mayes. “The failure by these polluters to inform the state about the risks associated with these chemicals has harmed our environment and the health of Arizonans – and they must be held accountable.”

The lawsuit, filed last week in Maricopa County, alleges that PFAS compounds used in various industrial and consumer products contaminated the environment and present an ongoing public health risk. One of those products is a fire-fighting foam used for decades at airports and military installations. When used as directed by the manufacturers, the products release PFAS into the environment, cause soil and water contamination, and bioaccumulate in humans and animals.  

PFAS compounds do not break down in the environment and will remain for decades unless clean-up efforts are undertaken. The suit alleges that the manufacturers knew of these risks yet failed to inform State regulators, users, or consumers of the hazards posed by using these products as directed.

On March 14, 2023, the EPA announced proposed federal drinking water standards of 4.0 parts per trillion for PFOA and PFOS. These two PFAS compounds have been associated with human health risks possibly including cancer, liver damage, and decreased fertility.

Arizona now joins numerous states and hundreds of cities across the United States that have filed similar lawsuits, seeking damages to pay for the costs of removing PFAS from their drinking water and otherwise remediate PFAS contamination throughout Arizona.

"This is an important step to improve and protect Arizona's water quality for decades to come. We applaud Attorney General Kris Mayes and Governor Katie Hobbs for prioritizing access to safe and clean water, which supports ADEQ's ongoing work to assist public water systems in identifying issues and developing solutions," said Karen Peters, the Director of Arizona’s Department of Environmental Quality.

Assisting the Arizona Attorney General’s Office is a team of three law firms who have extensive litigation experience: Baron & Budd, P.C., a national law firm dedicated to complex environmental cases on behalf of public entities; Cossich, Sumich, Parsiola & Taylor, LLC, a firm that regularly handles large-scale cases involving environmental harm caused by harmful products; and The Law Office of Joseph Tann, PLLC, an Arizona firm that specializes in complex, large-scale litigation.