MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine filed a lawsuit on Thursday in Washington County Common Pleas Court against DuPont and Chemours, seeking reimbursement for Ohio's costs of investigating and cleaning up PFOA (C8) contamination in the Ohio River.
Defendants named in the lawsuit are E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. (DuPont) and The Chemours Company, which is a spin-off business founded by DuPont in 2015 that began operating DuPont’s Washington Works Plant located on the Ohio River near Parkersburg.
Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), also called C8, is a manmade chemical used by DuPont from the 1950's through 2013 to produce Teflon at its Washington Works plant.
The lawsuit alleges that DuPont released PFOA into the Ohio River from its Washington Works plant for decades, even while DuPont's own research and medical staff concluded that PFOA was toxic to humans and the environment, and that community members were at risk of exposure to PFOA.
Instead of notifying the community or taking steps to reduce the risk, the lawsuit says DuPont increased its use of PFOA, releasing more PFOA into the air, water, and land around the plant, and contaminating soil and drinking water in Ohio and West Virginia.
Medical experts have linked PFOA exposure to health problems in humans, including kidney and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, low birth weight, and high cholesterol.
PFOA builds up and persists in the blood, and it is known to be toxic and carcinogenic in animals.
It is also extremely persistent in water and soil, and is resistant to typical environmental degradation processes.
A 2017 University of Cincinnati study, which analyzed blood samples collected between 1991 and 2012, found that residents of the Mid-Ohio River Valley had elevated levels of PFOA.
The Ohio Attorney General's lawsuit against DuPont seeks the following:
A declaration of DuPont’s duty to compensate Ohio for expenses related to the contamination; damages for injury to Ohio’s natural resources, including the economic impact to the state and its residents; an award of present and future costs to clean up PFOA contamination; and restitution damages for profits DuPont obtained through the conduct.
“We believe the evidence shows that DuPont kept releasing this chemical even though it knew about the harm it could cause," DeWine said in a news release, " We believe DuPont should pay for any damage it caused, and we’re taking this action to protect Ohio, its citizens, and its natural resources.”
You can read the entire lawsuit filing at the link in the "Related Links" section of this story.