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Flu-fear products offset 3M’s shrinking office supply sales

Managers are cutting back on office supplies, but thankfully for 3M, others are stocking up on flu masks and other health-care products.

3M’s third-quarter profits of $971 million beat analysts’ predictions and prompted the company to raise its outlook for the fiscal year.

Health-care sales increased 4.7 percent to $1.1 billion, while its consumer and office division saw sales fall 4.8 percent to $923 million. Office products saw double-digit sales declines, the company said.

Another big number: 1,013,514. That’s how many pounds of toxic chemicals 3M legally dumped into the Mississippi River in 2007, according to a report by Environment Minnesota. A 3M spokesman told Finance & Commerce the releases are within permitted levels.

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