Industrial Fire Journal - Fire & Rescue - Hemming Group Ltd
Dupont and Chemours agree to settle PFOA lawsuits
Published:  20 February, 2017

A multi-million dollar deal will be used to settle 3,550 lawsuits in Ohio and West Virginia.

Dupont and spin-off company Chemours will pay US$670 million to settle 3,550 lawsuits by residents who say they became sick after drinking water contaminated by perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) released from a former Dupont plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia.

Dupont and Chemours will each pay US$335 million of the settlement; the deal could make it easier for plaintiffs in other regions to pursue similar cases involving PFOA, a processing aid used until 2015 to make fluoropolymers such as Teflon products. PFOA is also found in some aqueous film-forming foams (AFFF) used in firefighting, although its usage as an ingredient is AFFF has been reduced over the last few years and replaced with C6 chemistry.

“Dupont’s settlement offer of $670.7 million for the 3,550 local residents harmed by C-8 represents an enormous step in the right direction, and we are cautiously optimistic that the company will prevent any further delay, that this offer will be approved by the plaintiffs, and that this long-awaited promise will finally be fulfilled,” commented Harold Bock, advisor to community-based organisation Keep Your Promises; “As of this announcement, no checks have been written and no compensation has been paid. Folks who have already had their days in court, including Carla Bartlett, David Freeman, and Kenneth Vigneron, have had their awards bogged down in appeals. For Dupont and Chemours, who have shamelessly dragged this crisis out for decades, it is time to make good on this settlement offer without any further delay.

“No settlement can restore the health of the thousands of victims of Dupont’s C-8, but we at Keep Your Promises are heartened to know that this long-awaited justice for these 3,550 members of our community is now within arm’s reach," said Bock.

Dupont is about to merge with Dow Chemical and will subsequently split into three distinct companies; fears that liabilities for the PFOA cases could reach as much as US$5 billion and disrupt merger plans appeared to have been put aside with the settlement.

In 2015 Dupont completed the separation of its Performance Chemicals segment through the spin-off of The Chemours Company.