Legislation follows in wake of 3M water contamination in east metro

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3M is in court Tuesday, defending itself against a group of homeowners who say they were injured when chemicals manufactured by the company seeped into their drinking water.

3M says the chemicals, in the amounts found in the environment, are not harmful to people. State health officials have said their testing so far shows the chemicals do not pose an immediate health threat.

Lawyers for six residents of Oakdale and Lake Elmo will argue that the case deserves class-action status. 3M is fighting class action certification. If the plaintiffs succeed, hundreds of millions of dollars could be at stake.

In a similar case in 2004, DuPont paid $300 million to settle a class-action lawsuit after residents of Ohio and West Virginia found trace amounts of the same chemicals in their water.

MPR's Cathy Wurzer talked with DFL State Sen. Katie Sieben, the chief sponsor of a bill that calls for biomonitoring, a process that tracks the presence of hazardous chemicals in humans.

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