Earlier this year, we learned that the United States government had settled with 3M, the military manufacturing company responsible, in part, for issuing earplugs to military personnel that, as it turned out, were defective. Veterans who used these earplugs during their tours in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars are now suffering from record numbers of hearing loss and tinnitus.
Of the $9.1 million that 3M paid the government in the settlement, none of that money went to the veterans whose health has actually been adversely affected. And 3M did not admit liability or guilt that it knew of the defects and did nothing about it.
The rubber earplugs were issued from 2003 to 2015. Veterans used them frequently, including at shooting ranges and while riding in vehicles and flying in helicopters.
Since the settlement did not reach veterans, veterans across the country who are suffering because of the defective earplugs are suing 3M on their own. 3M has responded to the settlement stating: “3M has great respect for the brave men and women who protect us around the world. We have a long history of serving the U.S. military, and we continue to sell products, including safety products, to help our troops and support their missions. We are not commenting on specific litigation matters at this time.”