DuPont C8 Lawsuit Information
In February 2017, DuPont and its spinoff company agreed to pay nearly $671 million to thousands of Mid-Ohio Valley residents affected by C8, a man-made chemical used to make Teflon that has been linked to cancer and other serious side effects. According to lawyers representing the plaintiffs, DuPont covered up evidence dating back to 1980 that C8, also known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), was toxic and caused cancer in rats, and said nothing to the government or public, despite knowing that the chemical was present at dangerous levels in drinking water in Ohio and West Virginia. This global settlement resolved all of the approximately 3,500 DuPont C8 claims pending in federal courts as part of the Ohio multidistrict litigation (MDL), some of which dated back to 2001, involving physical injuries caused by C8 contamination in the air and drinking water.
According to DuPont, the lawsuits involved in the Ohio MDL included about 30 wrongful death claims, 270 claims of testicular or kidney cancer, and more than 1,300 claims of thyroid disease. Prior to this settlement agreement, in 2005, DuPont settled a class action lawsuit in the amount of $70 million, which was distributed to individuals affected by C8 water contamination from the company’s plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia. That same year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered DuPont to pay $16.5 million in civil administrative penalties for its improper use and disposal of C8.
Reasons to Bring a C8 Lawsuit
C8 lawsuits brought against DuPont by individuals exposed to the harmful chemical in the air and their drinking water allege:
- That the company knew for decades about the toxic effects of C8, but withheld this information from the public and the medical community
- That DuPont could have replaced C8 with another chemical, but kept using it because it was cheaper than alternatives
- That the company took part in a “cover-up” that put individuals across the country at risk for serious health problems
- That DuPont failed to issue warnings about the potential for C8 to make its way into people’s drinking water
What is C8?
The chemical C8 is a soap-like powder known as a “surfactant” because it is slippery and reduces the surface tension of water, and in 1951, DuPont began using C8 in the production of the nonstick coating Teflon, even though the company’s chief toxicologist warned that the chemical was toxic. Over the span of several decades, DuPont reportedly released nearly 2.5 million pounds of C8 into the environment of the mid-Ohio River Valley, and the chemical found its way into the drinking water of thousands of area residents. To date, trace amounts of C8 has been found in 94 public drinking water systems spanning 27 states, exposing as many as 6.5 million Americans to a chemical that has been linked to kidney cancer, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol and pregnancy-induced hypertension.
How a C8 Lawsuit Could Help
Individuals adversely affected by exposure to C8 may be able to recover compensation from DuPont for:
- Cancer and other chronic illnesses
- Hospital visits and medical bills
- Ongoing medical care for alleged C8-related injuries
- Loss of income due to the inability to work
- Emotional trauma
- Funeral costs
History of DuPont’s C8 Chemical
DuPont has known about the potential toxic effects of C8 for decades, and as early as 1982, the company was warned about the “great potential for current or future exposure of members of the local community from emissions,” by its medical director, after DuPont’s own research showed workers there were getting sick. However, the company continued using the chemical, and by 1984, DuPont confirmed that C8 was getting into people’s drinking water by sending out workers to collect jugs of tap water from local schools and gas stations. That same year, minutes from a corporate meeting show that the company deliberately chose to continue using C8, after deciding that none of the alternative chemicals were “economically attractive.” In 1995, an internal document from DuPont expressed growing concerns “about the potential long term human health effects of these materials considering they all appear to have long biological half lives.” It wasn’t until 2006, in a voluntary deal with the EPA, that eight major American chemical companies, including DuPont, agreed to phase out C8 by 2015. Unfortunately, because C8 is formed by one of the strongest bonds in organic chemistry and does not biodegrade, it’s expected to post a risk to human health for years to come.
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