Posted on July 08th, 2020
The DuPont company has been releasing PFOA, a toxic agent, into the public and private wells from north Alabama, which prompted numerous people to file lawsuits against it. Exposure to PFOA is responsible for causing a wide range of cancers, such as kidney cancer, leukemia, and pancreatic cancer.
Perfluorooctanoic acid, commonly known as PFOA, refers to a group of chemicals that are carcinogenic. It can be found in aqueous film-forming foam, also known as AFFF, as well as in various other products, such as Teflon, which is mostly used to manufacture non-stick cooking utensils. Exposure to PFOA can lead to serious diseases, such as bladder cancer, leukemia, and pancreatic cancer. Until 2013, Teflon was made with PFOA. In Alabama, DuPont manufactured Teflon, which released over 1.7 million pounds of PFOA between 1951 and 2003 into the environment. While DuPont has been aware of the hazardous nature of PFOA since 1984, the company did not cease employing it in their products. For this reason, numerous families living in close proximity to the factory developed terrible diseases, which prompted them to file lawsuits against the company. A family living in Alabama first sued DuPont in 1998 for the loss of cattle, as the cattle consumed food contaminated with the PFOA they released in the environment. The lawsuit was settled in 2001 for a sum of money which is not available for the large public.
The lawsuit brought about another one, filed by a lawyer on behalf of 80,000 people who were exposed to the PFOA released into the environment by DuPont. It was settled in 2005, with the company paying $235 million for the medical monitoring of over 70,000 people living nearby the plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia, who ingested these harmful chemicals. By 2015, there were over 3,500 pending lawsuits against DuPont. The first plaintiff sued the company for having developed kidney cancer as a result of constant exposure to PFOA. He ordered the company to pay $1.6 million in compensatory damages. In 2017, DuPont settled more than 3,550 lawsuits for $671 million. Nevertheless, they denied any wrongdoing.
DuPont, which has been in business since 1802, operates in 90 countries at the moment. In Alabama, the company manufactures insecticides, fungicides, and chemicals such as adhesives, cosmetic additives, polymers, and fragrances. In 2017, a north Alabama water supplier sued DuPont for releasing PFOA in the Conasauga River. The Water Works and Sewer Board of the Town of Centre filed the lawsuit in Cherokee County Circuit Court. They accused the company of polluting the river, which is located near their manufacturing facility. In addition to PFOA, the company also released perfluorooctane sulfonate, which is another toxic agent. DuPont uses PFOA to offer stain and grease resistance to their carpet and other textile products. It is important to note that PFOA is a persistent chemical in the environment, causing permanent pollution. Besides DuPont, the lawsuit was also filed against the following companies: