Kleenex is Being Accused in a Lawsuit of Using ‘Forever Chemicals’

By: Beth Moreton | Published: Mar 16, 2024

U.S. Kleenex users might be put off from using their products to help with their blocked noses if a recent lawsuit against the company turns out to be true.

Residents in Connecticut are accusing the company of using “forever chemicals” in their products, something the company strongly denies.

Kimberly-Clark Makes Kleenex Products

The company that makes Kleenex products is called Kimberly-Clark, and the suit is targeting them.

Woman blowing her nose

Source: Canva

The Kimberly-Clark website states that the company wants to “deliver better care for a better world.” In addition to Kleenex, some of the other companies they supply products for are Andrex and Huggies. 

Connecticut Residents Say Kimberly-Clark Uses PFAS

According to NBC News, Connecticut residents have filed lawsuits claiming that Kimberly-Clark uses per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS

An example of some polluted water. The water is brown and muddy.

Source: John Vachon/Wikimedia Commons

These are known as “forever chemicals,” and the residents say that the use of PFAS pollutes their properties and water.

PFAS Are Related Chemicals

PFAS is a group of around 15,000 chemicals that are used in various consumer and commercial products, including nonstick pans and cosmetics, according to Reuters.

An example of the structure of PFAS. There are lines linking to letters such as CF-F and F-O.

Source: MedCram - medical lectures explained clearly/YouTube

PFAS have also been referred to as “forever chemicals” because they take a very long time to break down on both the environment and humans.

PFAS Use Has Caused a Drop in Property Value?

Connecticut residents are worried about risks to their health and properties.

A set of keys next to a small version of a house, with white and red walls, windows, and a grey roof.

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The residents have said that the PFAS attach to air particles, which then land on their properties and the land surrounding them, which has caused a drop in property value, making it difficult for them to sell.

Kimberly-Clark Has Been Accused of Being Negligent

In another part of the lawsuit, the Connecticut residents are accusing Kimberly-Clark of being negligent toward them.

The Kimberly-Clark factory. There is smoke coming out of a chimney and the factory is surrounded by trees and a hill in the background.

Source: Fairv8/Wikimedia Commons

They have said that the company failed to tell them that PFAS were being used and failed to stop PFAS from being released into the environment. 


Connecticut Residents Have Made Demands in Their Lawsuit

The Connecticut residents want Kimberly-Clark to make changes to their use of PFAS and to provide financial support for their losses.

A street in Connecticut. There are houses on either side of the road and some cars parked up on the street, along with trees and a streetlamp.

Source: CharlieBo313/YouTube

The residents want Kimberly-Clark to install water filters to prevent PFAS from entering the air and to start a fund to help with the payment for any health-related issues that may have arisen as a result of the PFAS they have released. 


Kimberly-Clark Has a List of Restricted Substances

The Kimberly-Clark website lists a number of substances that are either banned or restricted from being used in its products. 

A Kimberly-Clark mill that is next to a field with trees.

Source: Fairv8/Wikimedia Commons

While PFAS is not listed as one of the banned or restricted substances, it is on a list along with talc as a chemical they have identified as needing to be phased out. 


$11 Billion in PFAS Settlements Were Made in 2023

The lawsuit between the Connecticut residents and Kimberly-Clark isn’t the first with companies using PFAS, as $11 billion in settlements were made in 2023 alone.

A courtroom. Three people are sitting behind a table, with another person sitting in front of them.

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It has also been predicted that even more settlements will be made regarding the use of PFAS in 2024, with the Kimberly-Clark case being just one of them. 


PFAS Has Led to Health Issues

The lawsuits made regarding PFAS have been by water companies wanting the companies using PFAS to clean up the contamination, as well as individuals with health issues.

A woman lying on her bed curled up holding her stomach in pain.

Source: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels

The individuals with health issues that are believed to be caused by PFAS have included cancer, hormonal dysfunction, and ulcerative colitis.


Studies Have Shown How Many PFAS Are in Humans

A recent study by the USGS has shown just how many PFAS are present in humans, and the results are shocking. 

A man having his blood drawn by a doctor. He has a blue blood pressure cuff on one arm. The doctor is wearing a white lab coat, blue latex gloves, and glasses.

Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health/Wikimedia Commons

They found that 45% of the tap water in the U.S. contains PFAS and that dangerous chemicals have been found in the blood of 97% of Americans. 


The EPA Will Enforce Laws Surrounding the Use of PFAS

The Environmental Protection Agency has set out to create a change regarding companies’ use of PFAS.

The logo for the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The name of the EPA is in a circle and in the center is what looks like a flower, with green leaves, and the flower is a circle with the inside representing water, land, and sky.

Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency/Wikimedia Commons

In plans set out in an annual report, they have proposed drinking water limits, as well as placing two of the chemicals as hazardous substances under the U.S. superfund, which they hope to come into force in 2024. 


PFAS Will Be Difficult to Replace

The EPA might be planning on getting rid of PFAS, but Insurance Journal reports that they will be difficult to replace. 

A brown box of Kleenex tissues with a floral pattern on the box.

Source: Evan-Amos/Wikimedia Commons

The manufacturers of PFAS have said that no other substance will be able to replace them, saying that they are “critical chemistries that enable modern-day life.”