The Institutes

Shoe Production PFAS Contamination Leads to $113M Settlement

 Monday, November 14, 2022

 Risk & Insurance

Wolverine Worldwide operated a shoe making factory in Kent County, Michigan. As part of the shoe production process, chemicals were used to create waterproof material. These chemicals? Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

PFAS, for short, the chemicals are known to have adverse effects on human health, including elevated risks of certain cancers, infertility and more.

Additionally, PFAS have been dubbed ‘forever chemicals’ in that they do not break down and can be present for hundreds of years.

Soon, homeowners in the Kent County area learned their drinking water had been contaminated with PFAS and in 2017 filed a lawsuit against Wolverine Worldwide for its role in this contamination.

When the contamination was discovered, residents began getting regular blood tests. One resident showed an increase to five million parts-per-trillion in her blood.
Wolverine Worldwide sued its parent company, 3M. The chemicals, it said, originated with them.