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3M, DuPont Hit with PFAS Lawsuit Regarding Contaminated Water
December 2, 2020 - DuPont, 3M, Chemours, and Corteva were hit with another lawsuit over so-called forever chemicals in groundwater.
DuPont de Nemours Inc., 3M Co., the Chemours Co., and Corteva Inc. knew or should have known that the “harmful compounds” they manufactured would reach groundwater, pollute drinking water supplies and threaten public health, the water districts allege in their claim. The plaintiffs say the companies failed to protect the region’s water supplies, and now the districts – and millions of Orange County residents – are dealing with “widespread contamination”.
For decades the chemical companies manufactured products containing perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctancesulfonic acid (PFOS), both of which are known as “forever chemicals” because they do not break down in the environment, according to the water districts. The man-made substances are part of a group of more than 5,000 substances known as PFAS and have been shown to lead to reproductive and developmental, liver and kidney, and immunological problems, and possibly cancer.
The water districts are alleging public and private nuisance, negligence, design defects and failure to warn, among other allegations. They are seeking specific damages as well as injunctive relief, attorney fees and court costs.
Daniel Turner, a DuPont spokesperson, said in a statement that the company is disappointed by the water districts’ claims.
“DuPont de Nemours has never made or sold PFOA, PFOS or other perfluorinated compounds in California, or elsewhere,” he said. “These complaints are the latest example of DuPont being improperly named in litigation, and we look forward to vigorously defending our position.”
3M has stated that it “acted responsibly in connection PFAS and will vigorously defend itself against the allegations in this lawsuit.”
Counsel for the water districts declined to comment.
If you or a loved one was exposed to PFAS contamination and were subsequently diagnosed with a serious disease or injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and other losses. Contact a PFAS contamination lawyer from TorHoerman Law for a free, no-obligation case consolation today.
Millions of families across the United States have discovered that the water in their faucets had been contaminated by chemicals that are linked to cancer, heart disease, birth defects, and numerous other health complications. These toxic, man-made chemicals are known as PFAS, and they were originally created for industry and consumer products. PFAS have been found in drinking water in communities nationwide, with an estimated 110 million Americans affected by PFAS contamination. Read on to learn more about PFAS and to see if you or a loved one are eligible for a PFAS contamination lawsuit or contact a PFAS contamination lawyer today.
At this time, TorHoerman Law is exploring the possibility of filing a PFAS contamination lawsuit. If you have any questions, please contact a toxic tort lawyer at TorHoerman Law.
Per-fluoroalkyl and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are man-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide for over 60 years. The toxic chemicals are known for their ability to resist grease, water, and oils. PFAS were commonly used for non-stick cookware, stain-resistant fabrics, firefighting foams, cleaning products, paints, and numerous other products.
The most common PFAS are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and per-fluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). PFOA and PFOS are fully fluorinated, organic compounds that have been proven to be resistant to typical environmental degradation. Both chemicals have been found in the environment and in drinking water. While U.S. regulations have ended PFOA and PFOS production, the chemicals do not break down and have remained in the environment in the water, soil, and air. PFAS have been found in the blood of people and animals worldwide and in some food products.
New PFAS are currently being developed. Very little scientific research on new PFAS exists, so it is uncertain if they have the same health concerns. The new chemicals could be less toxic and persistent in the environment.
Human exposure to PFAS has been labeled a public health concern by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health (NCEH) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Growing bodies of science have documented PFOS toxicity and public health impacts. Some evidence indicates that even low-level PFA exposure could be unsafe for humans. Studies in humans exposed to PFAS have shown the chemicals could have significant effects on the body’s development while increasing the risks of cancer and other diseases.
Studies of humans exposed to PFAS have shown that PFAS can:
Increased PFAS exposure has also been linked to thyroid disease, weight gain, decreased vaccine response, and neurobehavioral effects. PFAS exposure has also been correlated with decreased fertility, lower birth weights, and pregnancy-induced hypertension. There also has been increased concern about PFAS and endocrine disruption.
You can be exposed to PFAS through:
PFAS can concentrate over time in the human body through the process of bioaccumulation. PFOA, one of the most popular PFAS, can persist long after exposure because of its long half-life and bioaccumulative properties. The PFOA half-life in humans is anywhere from two to four years, and other PFAS have shown half-lives up to eight years. Ongoing exposure to low levels of PFAS in drinking water can lead to concentrations high enough to potentially increased health risks.
PFAS have contaminated the tap water of at least 16 million people in 33 states and Puerto Rico and groundwater in 38 states. PFAS contaminated water has been tied primarily to past military bases and industrial discharge. The U.S. military previously used firefighting foams containing PFAS at hundreds of bases around the county. A Department of Defense Report listed 126 military facilities with water supplies contaminated above the EPA’s current PFA level standard. PFAS contaminated water has also been found near major manufacturing plants with many states filing PFAS contamination lawsuits. Dupont, 3M, and many other companies have faced allegations of contaminating ground and surface water with PFAS.
PFAS are resistant to many water treatment processes, and some technologies might even increase their concentrations. According to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Drinking Water Treatability Database, PFAS can be removed up to 99 percent with processes such as granular activated carbon, membrane separation, ion exchange, and powdered activated carbon. These technologies have become less effective in filtering out new forms of PFAS.
You can decrease your exposure to PFAS by:
The Environmental Watch Group’s 2019 PFAS Contamination Map reveals the extent of PFAS contamination in the United States. The interactive map documents publicly-known PFAS pollution sites including public water systems, military bases, airports, industrial plants, and firefighter training sites. According to the data, 1,398 locations across 49 states are known to be contaminated.
Workers exposed to products containing PFAS are at a higher risk of serious injury, including cancer.
Work products containing PFAS include:
If you or a loved one are suffering damages after being exposed to PFAS, you might be entitled to a PFAS Contamination Lawsuit. At TorHoerman Law, we offer free, zero-obligation consultations for all potential PFAS contamination lawsuit clients. Our team of experienced personal injury lawyers will work with you to take proper legal action for damages and compensation. Contact us today to discuss your possible toxic tort lawsuit.
At this time, TorHoerman Law is exploring the possibility of filing a PFAS contamination lawsuit on behalf of individuals exposed to PFAS who subsequently developed an injury. If you believe that you may qualify for a PFAS contamination lawsuit, you should contact a PFAS contamination lawyer right away. Hiring a personal injury attorney can greatly increase the chance of success in your PFAS contamination lawsuit.
Before you move forward with your PFAS contamination lawsuit, there are a few steps you can take to prepare yourself for legal action. First, familiarize yourself with the steps in civil litigation, so that you know what to expect for your lawsuit.
You can greatly help your PFAS contamination lawyer by collecting evidence to support your claim. Any and all documentation of injuries or exposure to PFAS will be used to strengthen your argument.
Your PFAS contamination lawyer will help you to assess the damages incurred as a result of your exposure – in a chemical exposure lawsuit, there are likely to be both compensatory damages and punitive damages, so familiarize yourself with both.
The total damages incurred will be amount to your total compensation, which will be paid by the liable party.
PFAS contamination lawsuits and liability are a complex matter, with many bad actors potentially responsible for water contamination. After assessing your case, your PFAS contamination lawyer will be able to determine the liable party or parties.
August 5, 2020 - An Ohio judge has just shut down 2 companies’ requests to stay out of a class action lawsuit regarding PFAS exposure. The lawsuit alleges that certain makers of products containing PFAS, a toxic group of chemicals, have knowingly sold their harmful products to consumers which has resulted in thousands of injuries.
The companies, Anchroma Management and Daikin Industries Ltd., claimed that they did not receive sufficient information about how they were responsible for PFAS exposure in Ohio. They also say that they have no business connection to Ohio whatsoever.
Last September, other chemical manufacturers sought motions to dismiss but were denied. The motions asserted that there is no personal jurisdiction over the alleged PFAS makers which is confirmed by affidavits signed by the defendants. Anchroma and Daikin have asked the courts to reconsider these motions.
The recent Malone v. Stanley Black & Decker Inc. case supported the court’s order against the motions. Lead plaintiff Kevin Hardwick, however, must still fight the motions with sufficient evidence.
Hardwick’s blood reportedly contains PFAS and PFOA which can lead to serious disease. He acquired the toxins from firefighting foams and other equipment throughout his 40 years as a firefighter.
January 16, 2020 - Dana Nessen, Michigan’s Attorney General, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against a list of major chemical manufacturers, including DuPont and 3M. The suit alleges that these companies have knowingly hid the toxic and long-lasting effects of a category of chemicals known as “PFAS” from the public. PFAS are believed to cause illness in both humans and animals such as infertility, liver damage, and various forms of cancer. These “forever chemicals” are nearly impossible to destroy and have recently been found in drinking water throughout Michigan.
The complaint details the companies’ negligence and the extensive damage that PFAS chemicals have done to state property and natural resources. Nessen believes the damage can be reversed in some cases but at a steep cost, and the price ought to be paid by the companies who have caused the problem.
DuPont was quick to respond, claiming the amount of PFAS they use is insignificant on a global scale and that they've never sold fire retardants (one of the main products that use PFAS). Denise Rutherford, a spokesperson for 3M, has said that their chemicals are not proven to have adverse effects on humans. But according to the lawsuit, 3M has scientific evidence that contradicts Rutherford’s claim.
This is the first step taken by the state of Michigan in the PFAS controversy, but DuPont and 3M have been under legal fire for years. DuPont has faced thousands of personal injury and wrongful death suits in just the last decade and has been known to purchase chemical supplies from 3M, namely PFAS and a similar chemical, PFAO.
3M sold the potentially-toxic products from the 1950s until 2002. In 2018 the company was forced to pay an $850 million settlement for allegedly releasing another toxic chemical, PCFs, into Minnesota waterways. Michigan now joins Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, and New Jersey in the legal battle against PFAS manufacturers.
Of the other 15 companies being sued, Chemours Co. and AGC Chemicals Americas Inc. have denied the allegations. The rest of the defendants are yet to provide comment.
DiCello Levitt Gutzler LLC and Keating Muething & Klekamp represent Michigan as outside counsel. Attorneys from the Michigan Attorney General’s Office and Fields PLLC will also represent Michigan.
“Breaking Down Toxic PFAS.” Earthjustice, 17 Dec. 2019, earthjustice.org/features/breaking-down-toxic-pfas.
“DuPont, 3M Sued Over Michigan 'Forever Chemicals' Pollution.” Law360, www.law360.com/productliability/articles/1234439/dupont-3m-sued-over-michigan-forever-chemicals-pollution?nl_pk=4ea5443d-d995-4317-90cc-b8209e697bbb&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=productliability.
“The C8 Science Panel.” EWG, www.ewg.org/research/poisoned-legacy/c8-science-panel.
Ewg. “Interactive Map: PFAS Contamination Crisis: New Data Show 1,398 Sites in 49 States.” Interactive Map: PFAS Contamination Crisis: New Data Show 1,398 Sites in 49 States, www.ewg.org/interactive-maps/2019_pfas_contamination/.
FACT SHEET PFOA & PFOS Drinking Water Health Advisories, 2016, www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-06/documents/drinkingwaterhealthadvisories_pfoa_pfos_updated_5.31.16.pdf.
Konnath, H. (n.d.). 3M, DuPont Hit With PFAS Suit Over Contaminated OC Water. Retrieved December 04, 2020, from https://www.law360.com/productliability/articles/1334080/3m-dupont-hit-with-pfas-suit-over-contaminated-oc-water?nl_pk=4ea5443d-d995-4317-90cc-b8209e697bbb
“Multi-Site Health Study.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 Nov. 2019, www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/Multi-Site-Health-Study.html.
Phillis, M. (2020, August 4). Judge Again Won't Let 2 Cos. Out Of PFAS Litigation. Retrieved August 05, 2020, from https://www.law360.com/productliability/articles/1297831/judge-again-won-t-let-2-cos-out-of-pfas-litigation?nl_pk=4ea5443d-d995-4317-90cc-b8209e697bbb&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=productliability
Schlanger, Zoë “Dupont and 3M Knowingly Contaminated Drinking Water across the US, Lawsuits Allege.” Quartz, Quartz, 3 June 2019, qz.com/1630348/dupont-and-3m-face-a-growing-list-of-water-contamination-lawsuits/.
“Toxics Action Center.” Https://Toxicsaction.org/, toxicsaction.org/issues/pfas-water-contamination/.
Last Modified: May 26th, 2021 @ 10:41 pm
Per-fluoroakyl and poly-fluoroakyl substances, or PFAS, are man-made chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide for over 60 years. The toxic chemicals are known for their ability to resist grease, water, and oils. Both chemicals have been found in the environment and in drinking water. Studies of humans exposed to PFAS have shown that PFAS can increase cancer risks, adversely affect immune functioning, increase cholesterol, and affect children’s growth, learning and behavior. PFAS contamination lawsuits are being filed against companies who contaminated environments on behalf of individuals who suffered injuries related to PFAS contamination.
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