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Exposure to DuPont’s C-8, which is an industrial chemical that has contaminated the water supply around a plant in West Virginia and the Ohio valley, may cause residents to suffer serious and potentially life-threatening injuries, including cancer, birth defects, kidney disease, thyroid disease and other side effects.
LAWSUITS OVER DUPONT C8 EXPOSURE: In February 2017, a $671 million C-8 settlement agreement was announced which resolve most, if not all, of the litigation. DuPont C-8 exposure lawyers are continuing to review potential claims for individuals who may be entitled to financial compensation.
OVERVIEW: DuPont C-8, also known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), is a toxic cancer-causing agent that stays in the environment indefinitely; never breaking down.
Studies have linked DuPont C-8 exposure to a potential risk of:
- Birth defects
- Kidney disease
- Thyroid disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Testicular cancer
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension
- High cholesterol
HISTORY OF DUPONT C-8 PROBLEMS IN OHIO AND WEST VIRGINIA: DuPont’s Washington Works Plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia has allegedly been releasing C-8 into the environment since at least the 1950s, which some say has resulted in tainted water supplies in West Virginia and Ohio.
For decades, the company allegedly knew about the problems at the plant and the risks of C-8 exposure, but continued to dump the chemical into the air and water until about 2004, according to numerous allegations.
Internally, DuPont executives allegedly began to worry that C-8 was toxic in 1954, and according to complaints filed, its own researchers confirmed those fears by at least 1961. However, the releases from the Washington plant continued.
By 1976, human blood in U.S. blood banks began to show traces of organic fluorine, which researchers believed was a by-product of C-8 exposure. Two years later, organic fluorine was found in blood samples from workers at the Washington plant. The company’s medical director issued a plan to review and monitor health conditions of workers at the plant who were potentially exposed to C-8. Still, DuPont continued the releases of C-8.
The medical director said in a 1978 article that the company had a duty to disclose possible C-8 health hazards and that the only “responsible and ethical way to go” was to “lay all the facts on the table.” He said to do otherwise was morally irresponsible.
By 1980, DuPont had confirmed internally that C-8 was toxic, but did not disclose the possible C-8 health hazards to local governments or communities that could be affected by releases from the Washington plant, lawsuits allege.
In 1981, studies suggested that C-8 was linked to birth defects. By 1984, the company was secretly collecting data from drinking water sources near the plant. Lawsuits claim that this is because the company knew by at least 1982 that C-8 was leaving the facility and entering the water supply. The sampling allegedly confirmed the presence of C-8 in water sources in Ohio and West Virginia, including samples from the Little Hocking Water Association in Ohio.
The company held a meeting in 1984 to discuss the DuPont C8 exposure problems, and also noted that technology existed that could prevent the C-8 emissions from the plant. At the meeting, DuPont officials allegedly decided that fixing the problem was not “economically attractive.” Not only did they continue the releases, but they increased the use of C-8 at the plant. The releases continued into the early 2000s.
In 2005, residents brought a class action lawsuit against DuPont. As a result of that lawsuit, an independent panel of epidemiologists was created to look at the side effects of C-8 exposure. In a study released in July 2012, the panel determined that many of the ailments residents complained about were linked to C-8 exposure.
DuPont has confirmed that many of the lawsuits filed against it concern injuries linked to C-8 exposure, and estimates that it could face thousands of lawsuits.
The first DuPont C-8 trial ended in a $1.6 million jury award in October 2015. In July 2016, DuPont was ordered to pay $5.6 million following a second trial. A third trial in January 2017 ended in a $12.5 million verdict against the chemical company as well.