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USA: DuPont Teflon plant poisoned nearby farms, water supplies & caused birth defects - firm has settled related lawsuits

Author: Mariah Blake, Huffington Post Highline (USA), Published on: 31 August 2015

"Welcome to Beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia", 27 August 2015

Parkersburg, West Virginia - credit: Emily Kassie - Huffington Post Highline...[In] the mid-1990s, the water in the creek [on the Tennant family farm near a landfill they had sold to DuPont] turned black and foamy... The cattle started going blind, sprouting tumors.. Family members were being hospitalized...

The [current US]...regulatory regime...is remarkably laissez-faire. Only a handful of the 80,000-plus chemicals on the market have ever been tested for safety...

In March 1981...a pathologist and a birth defects expert [sent by DuPont to investigate health impacts on factory workers]...concluded that...“the observed fetal eye defects were due to C8,” [a chemical made by 3M and used by DuPont]... 

The...data [gathered in a secret DuPont study] showed...a “statistically significant” increase...[in the] birth-defect rate... Rather than informing regulators or employees, DuPont quietly abandoned the pregnancy study... DuPont continued its clandestine testing...and this yielded more troubling revelations... DuPont didn’t inform its workers of these developments, much less take additional safety precautions...

[In 1984] DuPont executives...discussed recently adopted plans to cut C8 emissions...such as adding scrubbers to vents that spewed the chemical into the air. But they decided to scrap these initiatives. The additional expense was not “justified,” the executives concluded, since it wouldn’t substantially reduce the company’s liability...

After discovering C8 in Lubeck’s water supply in the early 1980s,...DuPont bought [Lubeck's] well field...[and] built Lubeck a new well field... But it soon discovered that the new wells were contaminated, too. Rather than notify the EPA, as the law required, DuPont devised a testing method that grossly underestimated C8 levels...

Despite all this [up to $374 million in costs to settle the class-action lawsuit], it was far from clear that DuPont would be held accountable...

When the C8 Science Panel [conducted by local experts using funds from the settlement]...released its findings...it found a “probable link” between the chemical and six conditions...[most of them] life-threatening... 

DuPont declined to answer questions for this story because of the pending individual liability litigation. But it issued a statement which read, in part: “DuPont has met and will continue to meet its obligations under the [settlement], including the provision of medical monitoring for local residents and water filtration systems in six area water districts … DuPont and Chemours remain committed to fulfilling all of their environmental and legal obligations in accordance with existing local, state and federal regulatory guidelines.”

Last year, the company finally phased out C8...[But] DuPont has simply turned to other closely related substances, such as perfluorohexanoic acid, or C6... DuPont is not required to ensure that these chemicals are free of the qualities that made C8 so toxic.

[With videos of birth defects to children of women working in DuPont Washington Works plant producing Teflon products; testimony from DuPont worker, residents of farm polluted by DuPont.  Includes internal DuPont documents.

Also refers to Hill & Knowlton, Weinberg Group, Feinberg Rozen, Chemours (formerly part of DuPont), Zonyl (product made by DuPont).]

Read the full post here

Related companies: 3M BP Chemours (formerly part of DuPont) DuPont Hill + Knowlton Strategies