DuPont C-8 Litigation Details
Since the early 1950’s, Du Pont has operated a manufacturing facility in Wood County, West Virginia, known as the Washington Works Plant where it used a chemical known as perfluorooctanoic acid and/or ammonium perfluorooctanoate (C-8). During the course of its operations at the plant, Du Pont allowed the continuous release of C-8 from the Plant into the surrounding environment, including the air and drinking water. Du Pont knew about this release of C-8, and by 1961, Du Pont knew that C-8 was toxic.
C-8 is a hazardous substance. However, despite Du Pont’s knowledge of the potential harm to people exposed to C-8, it continues to emit C-8 into the air and the surrounding environment from the Plant.
Beginning in the early 1970s, Du Pont was aware of reports that C-8 was present in people’s blood, particularly those working or living in areas around Du Pont’s manufacturing plants. Du Pont also knew by the late 1970s that those people exposed to C-8 reported more increased health problems than people who were not exposed to C-8. Over the course of the next several decades, Du Pont continually conducted internal tests on the effects of C-8 exposure. These tests consistently showed a connection between C-8 exposure and adverse health effects in humans, such as birth defects.
Despite those results, Du Pont never reported the harmful effects of C-8 exposure to anyone outside the company, including the general public or government agencies. In fact, Du Pont went so far as to misrepresent to the United States Environmental Protection Agency in 1982 that internal rat studies showed no link between C-8 exposure and birth defects, conveniently omitting its discovery of a link between human birth defects and C-8 exposure.
In 1984, Du Pont began secretly collecting water samples from public drinking water supplies located near the Plant in order to analyze them for C-8. This program revealed harmful levels of C-8 in the drinking water of places in both Ohio and West Virginia. Despite those results, Du Pont’s corporate management decided to continue its use of C-8 rather than risk an annual profit loss of approximately $100-200 million.
Du Pont continued its programs of collecting water samples and safety tests, and by 1988 was aware of the potential carcinogenicity of C-8. Once again, instead of discontinuing its use of C-8, Du Pont chose to increase its use of C-8 at the Plant and thereby increase the amount of C-8 wastes discharged from the Plant into the surrounding environment. Du Pont also deceptively used an outside laboratory that produced misleading test results regarding the harmful levels of C-8 in the contaminated drinking water. These test results were significantly lower than the actual levels of C-8 in the water.
Over the course of the 1990s, both outside epidemiological studies and Du Pont’s own internal epidemiologists tracked and confirmed an increased risk of certain forms of cancer with exposure to C-8. However, Du Pont continued to conceal this information and misrepresent to the general public the safety of C-8 exposure.
In fact, Du Pont’s use of C-8 only became public knowledge during a case against the company filed in 1998 on behalf of owners of cattle that were unknowingly drinking C-8 contaminated water in West Virginia. Documents produced in that case revealed Du Pont’s use of C-8, its contamination of drinking water in Ohio and West Virginia, and its knowledge of the harm C-8 can cause to exposed individuals.
Soon after that case settled in 2001, a new class action was filed in West Virginia state court against Du Pont based on C-8 contamination of drinking water supplies near the Plant. In 2005, the court approved a settlement on the class action. Under this settlement, class members could bring certain individual personal injury, wrongful death and punitive damages claims related to the contamination of their drinking water with C-8. In order to qualify, a person must have consumed C-8 contaminated water for at least one year prior to December 3, 2004, and must suffer from certain conditions linked to C-8 exposure. A C-8 Science Panel was assembled to determine if there was any probable link between C-8 exposure and human diseases.
The C-8 Panel ultimately determined that a probable link exists between C-8 exposure and the following human diseases:
- kidney cancer;
- testicular cancer;
- ulcerative colitis;
- thyroid disease;
- pregnancy-induced hypertension/ preeclampsia; and
- medically-diagnosed high cholesterol.
Millions of people resided in the Ohio and West Virginia water districts affected by Du Pont’s release of C-8 from the Plant. Many of these people suffering from one of the above conditions linked to C-8 exposure have filed their personal injury actions against Du Pont regarding the presence of harmful levels of C-8 in their contaminated drinking water. We believe that hundreds of similar actions will be filed against Du Pont in the very near future.
If you or a loved one resided in a water district contaminated by C-8, and have suffered one of the conditions linked to C-8 exposure, you may have a legal claim against Du Pont. Join hundreds of people around the country in this DuPont C8 lawsuit. Should you wish to talk to someone one in our New York, NY, office about your C8 claim, please feel free to call us anytime.