ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The City of Rockford is set to join a nationwide class action lawsuit seeking damages for water contaminated by “forever chemicals.”

The suit alleges that two chemical companies, DuPont and 3M, contaminated water across the country with hazardous Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

PFAS are man-made chemicals used in creating oil and grease resistant food packaging, water and stain resistant textiles, and fire fighting foams. However, they have a strong carbon-flourine bond that resist natural breakdown processes, earning them the moniker of “forever chemicals.”

Later research linked PFAS exposure to increased risk of cancer, liver damage, compromised immune function, developmental disorders, and hormonal disruption.

Rockford Public Works Director Kyle Saunders said the City must join the suit by December 4th.

Currently, Rockford pays tens of thousands of dollars annually to monitor and treat its water, and Saunders said joining the suit could help recoup some of those costs.

“We think it’s in the best interests of our city to opt in, file a claim, recoup our costs on monitoring, and then obviously evaluate our options moving forward as the science gets better, and regulations evolve. We just want to be in a good position to protect our city moving forward,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.