Court proceedings Thursday in the trial of Bartlett vs. E.I DuPont revealed that the United States Environmental Protection Agency had serious concerns about DuPont’s alleged failure to provide the agency with important health information related to its use of the chemical known as C8. The EPA initiated an administrative proceeding against DuPont in 2004 claiming that DuPont had failed to comply with certain reporting requirements relating to C-8 under two statutes, the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and also the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
Specifically, the EPA claimed that DuPont failed to submit certain data that it had acquired in 1981 from sampling the blood of female DuPont Washington Works employees indicating that C-8 crossed the placenta from pregnant mothers to their children in utero. Second, the EPA claimed that DuPont failed to submit data concerning C8 in the drinking water samples obtained from the Little Hocking, Ohio, and Lubeck West Virginia water districts between 1989 and 1991 including at levels above 1 part per billion. Third, EPA claimed that DuPont failed to report data concerning C8 in blood samples taken in 2004 from twelve community residents living in water districts around the Washington Works plant. And, fourth, EPA claimed that the data at issue reasonably supported the conclusion there was a substantial risk of injury to human health or the environment of which the EPA was not already aware and that EPA’s efforts to investigate C8 might have been more expeditious if the data had been received sooner.
DuPont, of course, denied all of these EPA claims and denied that it withheld any required information from the EPA. Before there was any determination made as to the validity of EPA claims, DuPont and the EPA agreed to settle the claims by entering into a type of settlement known as a consent decree. In other words, a Court order was entered that the parties had agreed to. That agreement fully resolved the EPA’s claims in those particular complaints, acknowledged that DuPont denied liability, and expressly stated that nothing in the agreement should be taken as an admission of liability by DuPont. Lawyers in the ongoing trial hope to establish the extent of liability DuPont may have to Plaintiffs for injuries they believe to have been caused by C8. The jury trial is being conducted in Columbus, Ohio.