U.S. Water News Online
DOVER, Delaware -- Drinking water supplies near a DuPont
facility in New Jersey have been contaminated with chemicals,
including a suspected carcinogen used in the production of Teflon,
according to a federal lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that the contamination is linked to the
manufacturing, use and disposal of perfluorinated chemicals,
including PFOA, at DuPont's Chambers Works plant in Salem County, New
PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, is a processing aid used in the
manufacturing of fluoropolymers, which have a wide variety of product
applications, including nonstick cookware. The chemical also can be a
byproduct in the manufacturing of fluorotelomers used in surface
protection products for applications such as stain-resistant textiles
and grease-resistant food wrappers.
The plaintiffs are seeking class-action status and compensatory
and punitive damages for what they describe as the "intentional,
knowing, reckless and negligent acts and omissions of DuPont in
connection with the contamination of human drinking water supplies."
In a statement, DuPont said the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District
Court in New Jersey, is without merit.
"We are confident in the safety of our operations at our Chambers
Works site," the company said.
According to the lawsuit, DuPont has known for years that PFOA was
being released into the air from operations and activities at the
Chambers Works Plant, and was contaminating the groundwater
A 2003 report by DuPont found that PFOA was being released into
the Delaware River at concentrations as high as 194 parts per
billion, and had been detected in a water intake for Salem Canal,
designated as a drinking water source by New Jersey environmental
regulators, at a concentration of 0.089 ppb, according to the
In 2004, DuPont agreed to pay as much as $343 million to settle a
class-action lawsuit filed by Ohio and West Virginia residents who
alleged that their water supplies had been contaminated with PFOA
from a DuPont plant in West Virginia.
The company agreed to spend up to $70 million for medical
evaluations of up to 80,000 people who drank water contaminated with
the chemical. DuPont also agreed to provide six local utilities with
new water treatment equipment and fund an independent study to
determine if PFOA makes people sick.
DuPont could be forced to spend another $235 million on a program
to monitor the health of residents exposed to the chemical.
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