In an ongoing trial in Columbus, Ohio, evidence introduced Friday showed that DuPont had been warned how to properly dispose of its hazardous chemical used to make Teflon and other products, but intentionally chose not to in order to save money. The original manufacturer of the chemical, 3M of Minnesota, had specifically exhorted DuPont to properly dispose of the chemical known as C8 through either incineration or adequate hazardous waste disposal. Instead, DuPont chose to ignore those warnings and to dispose of the cancer-causing chemical in ways they knew would end up in local drinking water.
The operation of the DuPont plant known as the Washington Works has been the subject of litigation over contamination the plant operations caused to the local environment. As part of settling a class-action suit, DuPont agreed that anyone who was diagnosed with the certain cancers linked to C8 by an independent panel could pursue a personal injury claim if they had lived in the water district for at least a year. Over 3,500 such suits have been filed, seeking compensatory and punitive damages. Plaintiffs assert their injuries were caused by DuPont’s “reckless and negligent” release of C8 and the poisoning of their drinking water.
The attorneys handling those claims in court, led by Mike Papantonio with Levin Papantonio, are presenting extensive evidence that DuPont knew long before 2001 that there were high levels of C8 in the water near the plant. The company kept that information from the public. The lawsuits are now pending in Federal Court in Columbus, and this first trial has so far proven to be a revelation of documentary evidence against DuPont.