Mass Torts

17. 3M Earplugs

3M Earplugs

Minneapolis-based 3M manufactured these dual-ended earplugs for hearing protection from close range firearms and other loud impact noises. Due to the defective design, the earplugs can slightly loosen and subtly move out of the ear canal just enough for the loud sounds to cause hearing damage. 3M knew of these design defects, but knowingly sold them to the US military from 2003-2015.

Service members and combat veterans have

reported multiple side effects including:

  • Hearing loss

  • Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears

  • Permanent hearing damage

  • Deafness

3M agreed to pay $9.1 million in a False

Claims Act lawsuit to settle allegations that

it knowingly supplied the United States

military with defective earplugs. 

US Army Soldier in Universal Camouflage

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