DuPont, Chemours and Corteva Will Pay Ohio $110 Million in Settlement Over “Forever” Chemicals

The 2018 lawsuit alleges PFOA was released in the air and water from DuPont’s Washington Works facility — just across the border from Ohio’s Washington County.

click to enlarge DuPont, Chemours and Corteva Will Pay Ohio $110 Million in Settlement Over “Forever” Chemicals
Ohio Governor's Office

DuPont, Chemours and Corteva will pay the state of Ohio $110 million in a lawsuit settlement that says DuPont put “forever chemicals” in the Ohio River for seven decades, despite knowing the chemicals could cause cancer.

“(DuPont) did this dispute knowing the release of the chemicals posed a danger to the public,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said during a recent press conference. “The evidence showed that DuPont kept releasing the chemicals even though it knew about the harm it could cause.” 

The lawsuit alleges the manmade chemical perfluorooctanoic acid, known as PFOA or C8 that is used to make Teflon, was released in the air and water from DuPont’s Washington Works facility in Parkersburg, West Virginia — which is just across the border from Ohio’s Washington County.  

DeWine filed the lawsuit against DuPont and Chemours in in the Washington County Common Pleas Court in 2018 when he was the Ohio Attorney General.

From the 1950s until 2013, DuPont made Teflon products using PFOA, which persists in water and soil and resists the typical environmental degradation process. But PFOA has been connected to kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, low birth weight and high cholesterol.

“It’s called a forever chemical because it doesn’t degrade over time,” DeWine said. “The effects of this on people are not fully known, but it can certainly link to various cancers.”  

The “forever chemicals” were found in waterways, wells and soils in Southeast Ohio. PFOA can be found in firefighting foams and has been used to make cookware, furniture and carpet flooring.   

Ohio was the first state to take legal action against DuPont for the use of “forever chemicals.”

Chemours and Corteva — the two companies that spun off of DuPont — will also help pay the settlement. Chemours will pay half of the settlement, DuPont will pay $39 million and Corteva is expected to pay the rest, according to the companies. 

The settlement creates an environmental restoration fund and allocates the money three separate ways — 80%  to address pollution from the Washington Works plant, 16% to address damages from firefighting foam and 4% to mitigate damages to natural resources.

“With this funding, we will be able to continue our work to ensure that water systems in our state are supplying drinking water that is below an acceptable standard of PFAS,” DeWine said. 

The funds will primarily go to Southeast Ohio and the payment will be a lump sum payment within 10 days of the settlement, said Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost. 

“This was not a slam dunk of a legal case,” he said. “I think this is the absolute best we could have done without a jury trial.”

This settlement is in addition to the millions of dollars DuPoint has paid out to thousands of personal injury lawsuits, DeWine said. 

DuPont and Chemours agreed to pay almost $671 million to settle 3,500 lawsuits filed in federal district courts over contamination from the plant near Parkersburg. 

The settlement preserves for Ohio the authority to set, regulate and enforce more strict drinking water standards for any harmful substance. 

Originally published by the Ohio Capital Journal. Republished here with permission.
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