DuPont ignored in-house medical and legal advisers to reduce emissions and to reduce community exposure to its cancer-causing chemical C8, and instead more than doubled the emission and discharge of it, an expert testified in a trial pending in federal court in Ohio against DuPont by plaintiff Carla Bartlett. Ms. Bartlett has kidney cancer, which her treating physician testified was caused by her consumption of C8 in her local water.
Concerns over toxicity and persistence of the chemical known as C8 were expressed within the DuPont company as early as 1954, according to expert engineer Stephen Petty. As early as 1962, DuPont knew of evidence that lab animals exposed to C8 showed enlargement of the kidneys, liver, adrenals and testes. In 1961, researchers at DuPont had already concluded that C-8 is toxic and, as expressed by DuPont’s own Toxicology Section Chief, should be “handled with extreme care.”
As elaborated in a report prepared by Mr. Petty, DuPont recognized in 1975 the problems with disposing of its Teflon waste and its additives, which included the chemical C-8. There was concern that a landfill needed to be selected that would not contaminate an underground aquifer and that was remote from habitation. Nonetheless, DuPont chose a waste site located that was easier to permit and maintain. The permitting for the dump site DuPont used allowed disposal of any dry solid material, non-toxic in nature, and which contained no leachable components. Documents show that DuPont was already aware of the leachability of C8 in 1966, but failed to reveal this to government officials.
It appears from the evidence being presented in the trial against DuPont that DuPont’s chosen course of action contributed to the environmental release of C8 from 1951 to 2003, totaling an estimated 702,000 pounds of the toxin. Emissions data shown to the jury indicated that yearly C8 emissions into the air at DuPont’s Washington Works plant tripled from 1961 to 1999. Even more shocking, yearly emissions from the plant into the local river increased by 500% over the same time period.
Ms. Bartlett is being represented by attorney Mike Papantonio with the law firm Levin Papantonio.