MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new analysis from the Minnesota Department of Health says water contaminated by 3M may have polluted the ground, but did not find unusual rates of certain cancers or birth problems.
The state of Minnesota says for more than four decades, 3M dumped industrial waste containing PFCs at four disposal sites in the east metro.
Last year, the state of Minnesota sued for billions of dollars, claiming 3M’s waste caused higher rates of cancer and premature births in the east metro.
But the Department of Health says it re-examined the available data, and didn’t find anything to back up those claims.
Cancer rates and premature births were no higher than communities in the region who don’t use the affected ground water.
The department added: “However, this should not be misinterpreted as a message that we can ignore the risks presented by PFCs in drinking water.”
In response to the new analysis, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson released a statement:
“It is deeply troubling that the Minnesota Department of Health rushed a report out the door a week after its chief architect wrote that the ‘cancer portion of the report will be weak’ and that ‘it will be nowhere near our standards and frankly it will run the political risk of embarrassing MDH in the hands of even a novice epidemiologist.’ I can only conclude from this that the agency is embarrassed because it is so late to the table in protecting the public health.”
Attorney General Swanson further added that 3M’s own product label from the 1990s said: ‘WARNING: Contains a chemical which can cause cancer.”
In response to the Attorney General, the Department of Health released its own statement:
“The concerns raised in the email of January 31 were subsequently addressed prior to the release of the reports. These concerns did not pertain to the conclusions of the analyses, but rather with a desire to ensure that we could develop additional examples and background information to more easily explain our analyses to the community. The reports had full and proper technical review, and our reports are supported by all staff involved.”