ALBANY, NY (Erie News Now)-- Currently in New York State, PFAs chemicals or forever chemicals have been detected in almost 40 percent of public drinking water supplies. Attorney General Letitia James helps to make changes to a multibillion dollar settlement with 3M, a chemical company, over lawsuits of contaminating public drinking water across the country. 

This week the chemical company agreed to settlement terms of $12.5 billion, previously set to $10.5, according to the New York State Attorney General's office. 

Some clean water advocates said forever chemicals can have harmful effects for the environment and for human health including increased risk to kidney cancer, and thyroid disease. 

“PFAS are one of the greatest threats facing drinking water today. There are over twelve thousand of these chemicals in use and they’ve been linked to a large number of harmful health effects,” said Rob Hayes, Director of Clean Water, Environmental Advocates NY.

The settlement money will go to water utilities across the country to help them test for PFAs chemicals and remove them from the water. 

Hayes said this settlement is the first step in holding the chemical industry accountable. 

“The 3M chemical company has known for decades that the PFAS that they’ve been using and producing can make people sick and yet they’ve used these chemicals anyways because they wanted to make a profit,” said Hayes. 

In an email to Erie News Now 3M stated they are pleased to have worked with Attorney's General to clarify the public water suppliers agreement. 

"This agreement will benefit U.S.-based public water systems nationwide that provide drinking water to a vast majority of Americans without the need for further litigation by or on behalf of public water systems," they wrote.