The Marietta Times (Ohio)
July 20, 2005
DuPont faces yet another class action suit
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — A $5 billion class action lawsuit is being
filed against DuPont Co. saying the chemical giant long failed
to warn consumers on the dangers of a Teflon chemical.
Two Florida law firms said Tuesday they were filing the lawsuit
in federal courts in eight states on behalf of 14 people who bought
and used cookware with the nonstick Teflon. It is made using perfluorooctanoic
acid and its salts, known as PFOA, or C-8.
The plaintiffs want DuPont to spend $5 billion to replace the
cookware, impose a Teflon warning label and create two funds to
pay for medical monitoring and more scientific research, said
Alan Kluger of Miami-based Kluger, Peretz, Kaplan & Berlin,
PFOA also is used in many other of the company’s most popular
products, such as auto fuel systems, firefighting foam, phone
cables, computer chips and clothing.
“DuPont has known for over 20 years that the Teflon product
and the PFOA chemical it contains causes cancer in laboratory
animals,” Kluger said. “I don’t have to prove
that it causes cancer. I only have to prove that DuPont lied in
a massive attempt to continue selling their product.”
DuPont settled another class action lawsuit over PFOA filed in
2001 by residents around the company’s Washington Works
plant, situated along the Ohio River near Parkersburg. In February,
DuPont set aside $70 million to pay for medical screenings for
many of the 80,000 Ohio and West Virginia residents near the plant.
They get their water from six public water districts or from private
wells within those districts where PFOA concentrations were found,
including the Little Hocking Water Association in Washington County.
Local residents have been asked to submit to blood tests and
other screenings in an effort to gather data about what impact,
if any, the chemical has had on them. Testing could begin within
the next few weeks and was the subject of four public meetings
held last week.
DuPont spokesman Clif Webb said Tuesday the Wilmington, Del.-based
company “will vigorously defend itself against the allegations
raised in this (latest) lawsuit.”
“Consumers using products sold under the Teflon brand are
safe,” Webb said. “Cookware coated with DuPont Teflon
nonstick coatings does not contain PFOA. This has been verified
by an independent peer reviewed study of consumer products announced
in April of 2005.”
Webb said other federal tests also “show that nonstick
coatings used for cookware sold under the Teflon brand, do not
contain any PFOA.”
Officials at the local DuPont plant declined to comment on the
new lawsuit. Instead, they faxed background information they said
should be attributed to Webb.
This latest lawsuit is being brought against DuPont under each
state’s consumer protection laws, saying PFOA causes cancer
in laboratory animals and might do the same in people. The chemical
has been in use since World War II but its long-term effects on
people are unknown.
Kluger said DuPont has sold or licensed more than $40 billion
in Teflon cookware in the past 40 years, and people have a “right
to know that there was a possibility of risk to them and their
He said the lawsuit was being filed initially in Florida, California,
New York, Texas, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan, and
could spread to other states later.
A scientific review panel advised the Environmental Protection
Agency the chemical is “likely” to be carcinogenic
to humans, but DuPont officials disputed the draft report. The
panel agreed to include more opposing viewpoints before submitting
it to EPA this month.
EPA concluded that DuPont failed to meet federal reporting requirements
on PFOA between 1981 and 2001, claims the company disputed in
legal proceedings. No agreement has been reached yet. Those resulted
from the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization,
bringing DuPont’s record on PFOA to EPA’s attention.
Copyright © 2005 — The Marietta Times