About 20 San Antonio veterans filed suit last week against 3M, Texas Public Radio reports.
The veterans say they suffered hearing damage during their service because of faulty earplugs made by the company.
Hearing loss is the single most common combat-related disability in the military.
Between 2003 and 2015, 3M was the exclusive supplier of earplugs to the Department of Defense, according to TPR. The lawsuit claims that the dual-ended Combat Arms earplugs didn’t maintain a tight seal and allowed high-decibel sounds through.
Attorneys for the veterans argue that the company knew their product was faulty as early as 2000, but withheld the information, and that 3M was grossly negligent.
“For years, 3M knew that the earplugs didn’t work, that the earplugs didn’t meet Pentagon specifications, but they never disclosed that fact to the U.S. military.” said TJ Mayes, spokesperson for the law firm Phipps Deacon Purnell PLLC.
“Thousands and thousands … of soldiers were fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, all over the world, using earplugs that 3M knew were defective.”