DuPont and its spin-offs Chemours and Corteva have reached a $4 billion cost-sharing agreement to settle a dispute over liabilities associated with the company’s historic use of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), a notorious group of man-made chemicals that are persistent, highly mobile and bioaccumulative. These substances, which have contaminated waterways and drinking water across the US and the world, are associated with serious human health and environmental problems.

Under the arrangement, announced on 22 January, expenses will be split 50–50, with DuPont and Corteva covering half and Chemours being responsible for the other half. The three companies will share the costs of ‘certain qualified expenses’ over a period of no more than 20 years or $4 billion. They will also establish a $1 billion escrow account to address potential future liabilities related to PFAS contamination, with contributions being made annually over eight years. Specifically, Chemours will deposit $500 million into the account, and DuPont and Corteva together will provide another $500 million.

Separately, the three companies have also reached an $83 million settlement with numerous plaintiffs in an Ohio multi-district lawsuit that will address personal injury claims. DuPont will contribute $27 million to the settlement, Corteva will provide $27 million and Chemours will supply $29 million. The arrangement resolves approximately 95 pending cases as well as ‘unfiled matters’ in the state, DuPont said.

‘The agreement will provide a measure of security and certainty for each company and our respective shareholders using a transparent process to address and resolve any potential future legacy PFAS matters,’ said DuPont Chairman and CEO Ed Breen, Corteva CEO Jim Collins, and Chemours President and CEO Mark Vergnano in a joint statement.

These developments follow a ruling by the Delaware Supreme Court in December that upheld an earlier dismissal of a lawsuit by Chemours alleging that DuPont significantly downplayed the cost of the liabilities that it faced when the company’s former performance chemicals unit was spun off into Chemours in 2015.