A locally-based company is among 17 being sued by the State of Michigan in regards to the PFAS contamination.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a lawsuit today in Washtenaw County Circuit Court for the damages and injury to the State of Michigan caused by contamination from toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, collectively known as PFAS and often referred to as “forever chemicals.” Among the 17 companies listed as defendants in the lawsuit is Asahi Kasei Plastics North America Inc., which is located in Fowlerville. The suit targets the company's former Thermofil factory on Whitmore Lake Road in Green Oak Township, which was the site of a large fire in 1997. At the time of the fire, that facility was used for plastic compounding that formed resin with flame-retardants and other materials before being turned into pellets.

The State’s lawsuit alleges that the companies purposefully concealed the dangers of PFAS and withheld scientific evidence, and intentionally, knowingly and recklessly sold, distributed, released, transported, supplied, arranged for disposal or treatment, and handled and used PFAS and PFAS-containing materials in Michigan in a way that they knew would contaminate natural resources and expose residents to harm.

The lawsuit is the first legal action taken by the state against PFAS manufacturers. In a press release from the Department of Attorney General, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy Director Liesl Clark stated, “Michigan deserves fair compensation from the chemical companies that profited from the sale of PFAS chemicals in our state.”

Locally, the contamination affected the Huron River Watershed system, which runs through Livingston County. The Wixom location of Tribar Manufacturing, a Howell-based company, was previously found to be responsible as a major source of PFAS being discharged into Norton Lake, forcing the company to install a mitigation system. Tribar is not among the companies listed in the State’s lawsuit.

When contacted by WHMI, Asahi Marketing Communications Manager Samantha Kortas stated that the company does not have a comment on the pending litigation. (DK)