As part of an ongoing investigation led by the Delaware Attorney General’s Office into the potential environmental impacts of legacy industrial activities in the state, Delaware has reached a $50 million settlement agreement with DuPont Co., Corteva, and the Chemours Co. for alleged damages resulting from these companies’ use of chemicals called PFAS.

Dubbed the “forever chemical,” per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are a large group of synthetic chemicals that includes perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), and GenX Chemicals.[1] PFAS are ubiquitous, having been manufactured and used worldwide since the 1940s in a number of different products, such as non-stick cookware, water-repellent clothing, coatings for paper used in food packaging, stain-resistant fabrics and carpets, and other products that resist grease, water, and oil. Certain studies have found that PFAS may be associated with a range of adverse health impacts including developmental and reproductive problems, increased risk of cancers in the liver and kidney, thyroid disease, asthma, and immunological effects. The most common PFAS exposure routes are through ingesting food, drinking water, and inhaling dust and particulates.

DuPont, Corteva, and Chemours have agreed to collectively pay $50 million to resolve their alleged responsibility for elevated PFAS levels in the waterways and groundwater of all three counties in Delaware.[2] Under the settlement agreement, DuPont and Corteva will each pay $12.5 million, while Chemours will pay $25 million. The companies will fund up to an additional $25 million if they settle similar claims with other states for more than $50 million in the next eight years.[3]

PFAS litigation has expanded significantly in recent years. The widespread use of these chemicals could implicate liability for companies and products in a variety of industries. For instance, DuPont, Corteva, and Chemours committed $4 billion at the start of the year to cover alleged liabilities for their past use of PFAS and recently agreed to pay $83 million to settle multidistrict litigation in Ohio over PFOA.[4] In 2018, the 3M Company settled with the State of Minnesota for $850 million for alleged damages to drinking water and natural resources as a result of supposed PFAS contamination.[5]

The arrival of a new presidential administration, which promised to focus on PFAS regulation and has appointed key government officials with experience in dealing with PFAS issues, is expected to coincide with and potentially enable an expansion in the volume and scope of both regulation and litigation. Companies whose operations and products use, or historically used, any PFAS would be well-advised to consider strategies to evaluate, address, and mitigate legal risks and potential litigation.

The author would like to thank summer law clerk, Olivia Guidry, for her work in developing and preparing this blog article. 


[1] EPA, Basic Information on PFAS, (last visited July 14, 2021).

[2] Delaware Department of Justice, State Resolves Natural Resource Damage Claims, (July 13, 2021),

[3] The $50 million settlement will go to the Natural Resources and Sustainability Trust, which will fund purification of drinking water; restoration of natural resources; environmental sampling and testing for PFAS in the ground, water, and air; research and development focused on PFAS; and community environmental justice and equity grants.

[4] Jef Feely, Tiffany Kary, & Tony Robinson, Dupont, Chemours in $4 Billion ‘Forever Chemicals’ Cost Pact, Bloomberg (Jan. 22, 2021 9:24AM),

[5] Minnesota 3M PFC Settlement, (last visited July 14, 2021).