3M Conducts Faulty Testing to Obtain Exclusive Military Contract on Earplugs

According to a recently settled whistleblower lawsuit, 3M Company and its predecessor Aearo Technologies, Inc. —which supplied the U.S. military with Combat Arms Earplugs version 2 (CAEv2) between 2003 and 2015—made false statements about the effectiveness of those earplugs, unnecessarily putting millions of veterans in danger of developing hearing loss and tinnitus.

Moldex-Metric, a competitor company that also manufacturers earplugs, filed the lawsuit under the False Claims Act. The U.S. Department of Justice later joined in the suit, and the plaintiffs secured a $9.1 million settlement agreement.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs’ alleged that 3M and Aearo (3M acquired Aearo in 2008) were aware of problems with the CAEv2 for years, yet continued to supply them to the military without disclosing the CAEv2’s defects.

Manufacturer

Army settlement with earplug maker may lead to more suits by veterans

Retired Army General Jay Gothard said a legal settlement, between the maker of an earplug used by the military and the United States Department of Justice, made him feel violated.

In the lawsuit, the U.S. government claimed that Dual-Ended Combat Arms Earplugs, made by Aearo Technologies but later acquired by 3M and sold to the Army, were “dangerously defective” and contributed to significant hearing loss in service members.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, more than half (52 percent) of combat soldiers return home with moderate or severe hearing loss. It costs taxpayers an estimated $1 billion to treat the problem.

Gothard showed WRAL News two identical sets of earplugs he was issued to dull the din of explosives and guns.

“We spend

Vets with Hearing Loss May Have Defective 3M Earplugs to Blame

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were over 800,000 veterans living in the state of Pennsylvania between 2013 and 2017. The Center for Philanthropy states that Pennsylvania has the nation’s fourth largest veteran’s population and that the number of vets jumped by 46 percent between 2009 and 2013.

Many of those veterans may be suffering from hearing loss and tinnitus because of potentially defective earplugs used in both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars between 2003 and 2015. The manufacturer, 3M Company, recently agreed to pay $9.1 million to resolve allegations that it knowingly supplied defective earplugs to the United States government.

3M Earplugs Supposed to Help Protect Soldiers’ Hearing
The 3M dual-ended Combat Arms Earplugs Version 2 (CAEv2) were standard issue in the military

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