The Gendorf site, located at the Gendorf Chemical Park near Altoetting, Germany, was founded in 1964 by Hoechst AG. In 1996, the fluoropolymer plant was taken over by Dyneon GmbH, a joint venture between 3M and Hoechst AG. In 1999, the Gendorf site became a fully owned subsidiary of 3M. The site currently produces certain PFAS materials, like fluoropolymers, that are important for modern life.
3M announced in 2022 that it will exit per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) manufacturing and work to discontinue the use of PFAS across its product portfolio by the end of 2025. 3M's decision is based on careful consideration and a thorough evaluation of the evolving external landscape, including multiple factors such as accelerating regulatory trends focused on reducing or eliminating the presence of PFAS in the environment and changing stakeholder expectations. PFAS continue to be essential for modern life and can be safely made and used.
We have made significant investments worldwide at our manufacturing facilities to help reduce our environmental impact at our sites in the communities where we work.
Gendorf’s production of fluoropolymers is designed in such a way that raw materials and energy are saved, recovered and returned to the production cycle. Wastewater from production stages is purified and reused in other process steps. Some polymer residues are sorted separately and processed into finished products. In addition, a variety of highly efficient exhaust air and wastewater treatment facilities are used to minimize the impact on the environment.
Prior to 3M’s purchase of the site in the 1990s, the Gendorf site was operated by the company Hoechst AG for the production of fluoropolymers. In 1996, Dyneon GmbH took over the production site and Dyneon’s Engineers and Researchers soon started capturing and recycling PFOA during production to minimize its emissions. After Dyneon GmbH became a subsidiary of 3M in 1999, 3M announced in 2000 that it would proactively phase out of manufacturing PFOA and PFOS, and has done so worldwide in the following years. At the time of this phase out, PFOA was already contained in a largely closed circulation process at the Gendorf site using retention technology.
Surveys by the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety (LGL) confirm that PFOA levels in Altoetting’s drinking water are below guidance levels. All drinking water values measured in the district of Altötting are significantly below the value recommended by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) for vulnerable population groups (0.05 micrograms per liter). More information can be found here. Recent findings from a blood monitoring campaign performed by the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety (LGL) also show these measures “are successful.”
In addition, 3M commissioned a detailed soil investigation in the county, carried out by the accredited soil expert ERM. After the final report’s publication in 2018, 3M supported the installation of active carbon filtration technologies for the municipalities of Altoetting and Neuoetting, as well as Kastl and Burgkirchen, in coordination with the municipalities and competent authorities in the following years.
3M took the lead in raising funds to cover the cost for the water filtrations systems. Alongside other industrial partners, both the investment and the operational costs of the systems were funded for the next 50 years. 3M is continuing to follow-up on the sampling results in the community. We are committed to supporting municipalities’ work in analyzing data to help make informed environmental stewardship decisions.
Together with the industry partners, we are currently also in contact with the authorities to address soil as part of the soil management concept.
Effective January 1, 2023, new rules for food producers will apply. More information on this and on our support for farmers in the district of Altoetting can be found here.
Due to their special way of life and diet, wild boars absorb a comparatively large amount of soil as they search of food and small organisms living in the soil. 3M has contributed to the costs of the shooting premium for wild boar since November 2018 in agreement with county office representatives and the hunting community, including the Bavarian State forests.
As of January 2023, 3M is also in contact with the veterinary office of the neighboring county of Braunau, Austria, to support sampling and analysis of meat and liver of wild boars that potentially crossed over from the county of Altötting. Following a study by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism published in 2021 and the sampling results from wild boars in Braunau, the state of Upper Austria also carried out testing and analysis of wild boar samples taken across the state, on which it is in contact with 3M.