Several personal injury lawsuits accuse the giant chemical company DuPont of having contaminated the supply of drinking water with a cancer-causing chemical used in the manufacture of Teflon. Nine plaintiffs who contracted cancer or other diseases believed to stem from the chemical have filed these lawsuits, including a number of residents of Ohio.
These are only the latest personal injury lawsuits filed against DuPont this year, with about 50 such claims filed in the court just since April. One even asserts that DuPont caused a person's death.
In the spring, a scientific panel appointed by a court made a determination that the chemical at issue, known as C8 or perfluorooctanoic acid, could give rise to thyroid disease, kidney cancer, testicular cancer and other maladies when people are exposed to it.
Years ago, in 2001, 80,000 residents living along the Ohio River were plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit against DuPont about the same chemical being dumped into the river. DuPont settled the lawsuit by agreeing it would pay up to $343 million in cleanup costs, as well as the medical expenses of residents. DuPont now says that it will stop using the chemical in question in 2015 but that may be too little and much too late for those who contract cancer from it.
Large companies often thoughtlessly dump toxic substances into the environment, injuring or killing many, and trying to add a few pennies to their already enormous profits at the expense of innocent victims. Lawsuits against such callous actions can help deter such thoughtless and irresponsible behavior in the future.
Source: USA Today, "Nine residents sue DuPont over cancer" Amanda Lee Meyers, Oct. 26, 2013