Minnesota's $5 billion case over 3M chemicals heads to trial

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The state of Minnesota is heading to trial in an effort to force manufacturer 3M Co. to pay $5 billion to clean up environmental damage caused by pollution.

Jury selection begins Tuesday in the long-awaited case. Experts say it could have wide-reaching implications, in part because 3M and other companies legally dumped the chemicals for years.

The case focuses on the company's disposal of chemicals once used to make Scotchgard fabric protector and other products. The company denies it did anything wrong, insisting it was acting legally at the time.

3M stopped making the chemicals in 2002, but two years later, traces of it were found in groundwater. The state alleges 3M knew the chemicals were getting into the environment and posing a threat to human health.

AP-WF-02-20-18 0531GMT

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