‘Dark Waters’ brings awareness to PFAS water contamination litigation
By Roopal Luhana | Legal Examiner | October 15, 2019
Read the full article by Roopal Luhana (Legal Examiner)
“A new movie called ‘Dark Waters,’ scheduled to be released in November 2019, is based on the true story of attorney Robert Bilott who discovered polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)—a group of chemicals that include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)—in the drinking water of a suburban town. The movie follows the story of how the American company DuPont knowingly poisoned 70,000 residents for decades.
The chemicals at the center of the DuPont story are found in DuPont products like Teflon and firefighting foams. Tests show that they’re increasingly contaminating drinking water supplies, which is why many companies are now defending against allegations that they polluted drinking water and put human health at risk…
Over 100 lawsuits involving firefighting foams have been consolidated in one multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the District of South Carolina, under the guidance of the Honorable Richard M. Gergel.
These lawsuits involve allegations that aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs), which are used to extinguish liquid fuel fires, polluted the groundwater near certain airports and other industrial locations with PFAS. Manufacturers named as defendants in these lawsuits include 3M Company, Tyco Fire Products, and Chemguard, Inc.
So far these lawsuits have focused on certain limited areas where firefighting foams were used, but evidence suggests that the problem may be more widespread than previously believed. Most communities train firefighters with potentially toxic foams in local areas that could lead to groundwater contamination…
The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment, [in collaboration with the Social Science Environmental Health Institute at Northeastern University] released a map showing the latest findings on PFAS contamination in the U.S. That map indicates issues in every state…
DuPont introduced Teflon back in 1946, and since then PFAS and other similar chemicals have been polluting the environment and human health. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes that PFOA and PFOS ‘are very persistent in the environment and in the human body—meaning they don’t break down and can accumulate over time.’
PFAS may be found in:
- Food packaged in PFAS-containing materials or grown in PFAS-contaminated soil or water.
- Commercial household products, including stain- and water-repellent fabrics, nonstick products, and fire-fighting foams.
- Workplaces, including production facilities or industries that use PFAS.
- Drinking water, particularly those near facilities that use these PFAS, like manufacturers, wastewater treatment plants, and firefighter training facilities.
- Living organisms like fish, animals, and humans where PFAS can build up and persist over time.
Scientific studies have indicated that exposure to these chemicals can increase the risk of high cholesterol, low infant birth weights, thyroid hormone disruption, immune system damage, and certain types of cancer…”
This content provided by the PFAS Project.