DuPont Released the Toxic Substance C8 into the Environment

DuPont Released the Toxic Substance C8 into the Environment

Perfluorooctanoic acid, or C8, is a chemical in the class of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) that is used to make household chemicals like the non-stick pan coating Teflon. It is also found in waterproof clothing, stain-resistant carpets, microwave popcorn bags, fast-food wrappers, and many other products. It is known as C8 because it is made up of a chain of 8 carbon atoms. It does not degrade, making it a “forever chemical” and is so prevalent that it is in the blood of 99.7 percent of Americans.

DuPont has known that C8 is toxic since the 1960s but released it into the environment anyway. It also found high levels of C8 in its factory workers and knew that it can cause cancer but kept this secret as well. The company was required to report this information to the Environmental Protection Agency but withheld it, putting profits over public health and safety.

In internal documents, employees were instructed to not flush the chemical into surface waters because it knew C8 is dangerous. This information was ignored, and the substance seeped into the water supply of Lubeck and Little Hocking near Parkersburg and Belpre, Ohio. DuPont had to install filtration plants and pay $70 million because of a class-action lawsuit in 2004 and in 2005, paid $16.5 million because it violated the Toxic Substances Control Act. The $70 million was used to conduct an epidemiological study to examine blood samples of 70,000 of the 80,000 plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Each person provided their medical history and gave blood and were given $400 in return. Public health scientists appointed by DuPont lawyers and lawyers representing the community looked at the data. The study lasted seven years and found that there was a probable link between C8 and testicular cancer, kidney cancer, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, pregnancy induced hypertension, and high cholesterol.

DuPont executives claim the company is supportive of the communities that it does business in, supports STEM initiatives in schools, and supports initiatives that help protect and clean up the environment. This is a little late though since the chemical that DuPont released into the environment poisoned a town and is so prevalent it is in the majority of Americans. The movie Dark Waters starring Mark Ruffalo was created about this situation, so if you would like to learn more, you can watch the movie.

Were you diagnosed with cancer after being exposed to a toxic substance? You could be entitled to compensation. Contact us at 412-471-3980 or fill out our contact form and one of our attorneys or staff members will get back to you as soon as possible.

Taylor Sisk, “A lasting legacy: DuPont, C8 contamination and the community of Parkersburg left to grapple with the consequences” Environmental Health News (January 7, 2020). [Link]

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