Evanston is in line to receive money from a huge class action settlement with the two corporate manufacturers of PFAS, the so-called “forever chemicals” that can last for decades in your water or in your blood.

PFAS (per-and-polyfluoroalkyl substances) are used in a variety of consumer and industrial products, and have been linked to a number of diseases including several cancers.

Within the past several weeks, 3M Company has agreed to pay between $10. and $12.5 billion to settle a nationwide class action lawsuit from hundreds of water suppliers.

DuPont and its’ related companies will pay $1.185 billion.

City of Evanston spokesperson Jessica Mayo tells Evanston Now that the city is part to both the 3M and DuPont cases, and “we are working with the claims department now that the matter has been settled.”

It’s unknown yet how much of a payout Evanston will receive, and it may take some years to determine and pay. A complicated formula involving a supplier’s volume of water and PFAS levels will be used to come up with the answer.

PFAS has been used in non-stick coatings in cookware, non-stain coating in clothing, and in firefighting foam, among other uses.

According to Reuters, “settlement monies will be earmarked to cover testing and related costs related to PFAS in drinking water ….”

Earlier this year, Evanston City Council approved a $1.57 million study on the best ways to remove PFAS from the water supply.

There is some discrepancy between state and federal regulators regarding PFAS levels.

The State of Illinois’ guidance is at 2.0 parts per trillion (PPT) for maximum allowable contamination.

Evanston’ most recent test results showed 2.2 PPT for PFOS (a PFOA variant), and 2.4 PPT for PFOA (another variant).

However, proposed federal standards set the maximum at 4 PPT, which is well above what was found in our water supply.

Despite the presence of PFAS in drinking water, the city says, “At this time, the EPA is not recommending bottled water for communities based solely on concentrations of these chemicals in the drinking water that exceed the health advisory levels.”

Plus, the city says, “standards for PFAS in bottled water” have not yet been established by the federal government.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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