3M Voluntarily Reduces Persistent Chemicals

St. Paul-based 3M announced that it will phase out the perfluorooctanyl chemistry used to produce some of its repellents and surfactant products. The affected product lines represent about $320 million, or 2% of the firm's $16 billion in annual sales. The lines include many Scotchgard products, such as soil, oil, and water repellent products. Testing has shown that chemicals used in the production of the affected products can be later detected at low levels in the environment and in people.

"Our decision anticipates increasing attention to the appropriate use and management of persistent materials," says Charles Reich, executive vice president, Specialty Material Markets. "While this chemistry has been used effectively for more than 40 years, and our products are safe, our decision to phase out production is based on our principles of responsible environmental management."

Reich adds that 3M will accelerate its research into finding more sustainable opportunities and technologies. "This decision is not only in the public interest, it's in the best interests of all our constituencies . . . our employees, customers, communities, and investors," he says.

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