ST. PAUL, Minn.-3M has plans to discontinue manufacturing PFAS and stop using the materials across its product portfolio by the end of 2025, as the regulatory climate for the chemical is changing rapidly.
The St. Paul-based firm said in a recent news release that its decision to stop using the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances was "based on careful consideration and a thorough evaluation of the evolving external landscape, including multiple factors such as accelerating regulatory trends focused on reducing or eliminating the presence of PFAS in the environment and changing stakeholder expectations."
PFAS materials are critical in the manufacture of many products, including medical technologies, semiconductors, batteries, phones, automobiles, and aeroplanes. While 3M contends in its release that its products are safe for its intended uses, it is committed to working towards an industry that is less dependent on these chemicals.
3M said its plan includes the discontinuation of all fluropolymers, fluorinated fluids and PFAS-based additive products. The firm said it would help facilitate an orderly transition for customers and that it would fulfil all of its contractual obligations during the transition period.
In looking to discontinue the use of PFAS across its product lines, 3M said it had reduced its use of PFAS over the last three years through research and development initiatives, and that it will continue to seek new solutions for customers.
The company added, however, that it will address litigation by defending itself in court or through negotiated resolutions, as appropriate.
"This is a moment that demands the kind of innovation 3M is known for," Mike Roman, 3M chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "While PFAS can be safely made and used, we also see an opportunity to lead in a rapidly evolving external regulatory and business landscape to make the greatest impact for those we serve."
From a financial standpoint, 3M said its annual net sales of manufactured PFAS for 2022 was about $1.4 billion - out of total 3M revenues of $34.2 billion, with estimated EBITDA margins of 16 percent. Over the course of the exit from PFAS manufacturing, 3M said it expects to incur total pre-tax charges of about $1.3 billion to $2.3 billion, with about 70-80 percent of that to be non-cash. For its 2022 results, 3M took a pre-tax charge of $1.15 a share related to PFAS, according to its year-end results.
3M has made additional details regarding PFAS available on its website at 3M.com/PFAS.