3M Corp. (MMM) could soon face one of the largest environmental lawsuits in the history of the U.S.

The state of Minnesota is seeking $5 billion in damages from the St. Paul-based company, alleging that chemicals manufactured by 3M have damaged human health and the environment in the state, according to local media.

In court documents filed Friday, the Minnesota attorney general said 3M dumped chemicals it produced in landfills in Oakdale, Woodbury and Lake Elmo starting in the 1940s and continuing until the 1970s. The chemicals have allegedly leached into local groundwater, affecting about 60,000 Minnesotans.

3M attorneys contend that the chemicals have not been proven to have any harmful effect on human health. The case is expected to head to trial in February. It could become one of the largest environmental lawsuits in the nation's history, according to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

3M stock gained 1% to $231.61 late Monday afternoon. Shares are higher about 30% since the start of the year.

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