A new finding by a whistleblower has shown that 3M intentionally sold defective dual Combat Arms Earplugs, Version 2 (CAEv2) to the US military. The military ear plugs were designed for soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan region. Due to the inability of earplugs to block the noise of weapons during wartime, hundreds of thousands of military personnel developed hearing loss problems. The company at last accepted its mistake and proposed to pay $9.1 million in order to resolve the allegations against him.
During the time-period of 2003 to 2015, the earplug manufacturers 3M and Aearo Technologies got the contract to supply about 2.2 million earplugs to the US military. While testing, it was found that earplugs couldn’t perform at a 10.9 decibel rating. When Moldex-Metric Inc., a 3M competitor developed their own earplugs, it founded that 3M manipulated study data and didn’t provide the right information about the defects in earplugs to the users. Then, a lot of investigation was carried out in this case to reflect how the earplugs failed to protect service members.
Moldex-Metric filed a suit under the Qui Tam False Claims Act which highlighted that 3M earplugs were not long enough to be fitted adequately into the ear. The veteran soldiers faced a lot of problems due to the use of 3M defective earplugs which resulted into partial or total hearing loss, buzzing or ringing in the ears, or tinnitus due to loud noises. Since there is no cure for tinnitus, it posed a lot of difficulties for military soldiers in their daily lives.
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