DuPont Lawsuit Claims Chemical Giant Knowingly Contaminated Drinking Water

Melissa Stusinski

DuPont is the subject of a lawsuit by nine Ohio and West Virginia residents who have cancer and other diseases they claim are the fault of the chemical giant.

The plaintiffs filed federal lawsuits this month against DuPont, claiming the company knowingly contaminated drinking water supplies with a chemical one of its plants uses.

This month's lawsuit are among about 50 cases, including one involving an alleged wrongful death, reports USA Today. All of the suits were filed since April, after a court-appointed science panel found probably links between exposure to C8 (perfluoroctanoic acid) and kidney cancer, testicular cancer, and thyroid disease.

C8 is a key ingredient in Teflon, a coating used on cookware, clothing, and other products. DuPont uses it at its plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia, on the Ohio line, though it plans to stop making and using the chemical by 2015.

The suits are the latest in a battle between DuPont and Mid-Ohio Valley residents, which has gone on for several years. About 80,000 residents filed a class-action lawsuit against the company in 2001 because of C8, notes The Huffington Post.

DuPont agreed settle the lawsuit and pay as much as $343 million for residents' medical tests, the removal of as much C8 as possible from the area's water supply, and a science panel's study into whether C8 is harmful to humans.

Dan Turner, a spokesman for DuPont, pointed out the company's attempts to pay for the medical study of C8 in a statement released this week. He added of the current lawsuits against the chemical giant, "DuPont will vigorously defend against any and all such lawsuits not based upon valid science."

Turner added that this is the case with the current suits, explaining, "Lawsuits such as these ignore family history, lifestyle choices and other causes of health issues and disease in specific individuals." Many of the suits accuse DuPont of negligence, concealment, fraud, deception, battery, and other things.

The first trial in the slew of suits against DuPont is set for September 2015. It could set a precedent for the other lawsuits to follow.

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]