GREEN BAY, Wis. – Attorney General Josh Kaul announced today that the Wisconsin Department of Justice has filed a civil environmental enforcement lawsuit against Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI) and Tyco Fire Products LP (Tyco) for alleged violations of the state’s hazardous substance spills law related to discharges of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
According to the complaint, JCI and Tyco violated the state spills law when they failed to notify the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) of a PFAS discharge and failed to remediate PFAS contamination at and around the Fire Technology Center in Marinette, Wisconsin.
“When companies contaminate our water, they must fully remediate the harm they’ve caused. Every Wisconsinite should be able to rely on the safety of the water they drink,” said AG Kaul. “The Wisconsin Department of Justice is committed to protecting the public and holding accountable those who endanger the health of Wisconsinites.”
PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals used for decades in numerous products, including non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers, stain-resistant sprays and certain types of firefighting foam. PFAS were discharged to the water, land, and air from the use of firefighting foam during training and testing at the Fire Technology Center.
PFAS chemicals resist degradation in the environment and accumulate in the body. Those contaminants may be linked to serious adverse health effects in humans and animals. Epidemiologic studies have shown that potential adverse human health effects from exposure to some PFAS include increased serum cholesterol, immune dysregulation, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and kidney and testicular cancers. Exposure to certain types of PFAS is also associated with low birthweight in humans, suppressed immune system response, dyslipidemia, impaired kidney function, and delayed onset of menstruation.
As part of this lawsuit, the State is seeking a monetary penalty from JCI and Tyco for violations of the hazardous substance spills law and injunctive relief requiring JCI and Tyco to complete an investigation and cleanup of the PFAS contamination at and around the Fire Technology Center.