The state of Minnesota sued 3M Co on Thursday, saying that the company contaminated the state's waters for decades with chemicals used in some of its best known products, including Scotchgard stain repellent.
The lawsuit, filed by Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, seeks a cleanup of the waterways and unspecified damages.
3M did not respond to an e-mailed request from Reuters for a comment.
According to the complaint, St. Paul-based 3M polluted public and private wells in the state by pumping perfluorochemicals, or PFCs, which it uses to make fire retardants, paints, stain repellents and other products, into waters flowing into the Mississippi River and by burying the chemicals underground.
The attorney general said 3M set aside $117 million in reserves for potential environmental liability relating to its disposal and discharge of PFCs.
Some PFCs have been linked to cancer in experiments with laboratory animals, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.
(Reporting by James B. Kelleher. Editing by Robert MacMillan)