This chemical has been polluting N.J. for decades. Now, 5 companies have to pay big to clean it up.

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MICHAEL SOL WARREN / NJ.COM – Five chemical companies polluted New Jersey’s water for years with a long-lasting, cancer-causing family of chemicals. Now, the state is directing those companies to clean up the mess.

On Monday, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection issued a directive to five companies — Chemours, Dow DuPont, DuPont, Solvay and 3M — aimed at addressing the contamination of what are known as “PFAS” chemicals (short for polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances).

The chemicals, which are used for products ranging from nonstick cookware to firefighting foam, have been linked to cancer and other health effects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention …

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