It was this incident that
eventually led to a Class
Action lawsuit against Dupont and a local water company, for
the contamination of drinking water supplies with C8. The C8 contamination
originated from DuPont's Washington Works facility in Wood County,
In 1999, a farm farmily
sued DuPont for the death of their cattle and the ill health of
exposed family and farm workers. DuPont settled the lawsuit within
2 years. Due to the settlement, few details are available to the
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section for fluorine & organofluorine pesticides.
The following excerpts are from
published by The Marietta Times (Ohio): Examining
the water we drink: Family's lost herd led to revelations about
Callie Lyons. September
DuPont and other corporations had been aware of the existence
of C8 for 50 years because it is a key ingredient in the making
of the non-stick substance, the people who live near the DuPont
Washington Works plant along the Ohio River were not made aware
it was being released into their air and water until the Tennants
started looking for answers. The concerns
of the Tennant family would eventually prompt multiple investigations,
involving half a dozen government regulatory agencies, into the
manufacturing chemical scientists recognize as PFOA.
A mysterious wasting disease killed 280 cattle on the Tennants'
farm near the Dry Run Landfill in the 1980s. The cause of the
cattle deaths were never conclusively associated with chemical
contamination from DuPont, but the company settled with the Tennant
family for an undisclosed amount in light of the allegations.
Jim and Della Tennant claim that family members who worked with
the herd and lived near the property also began to fall sick with
sinus and respiratory problems and skin and other cancers.
And, when the
Tennants asked their attorneys to look into the cause of the illnesses
and pursue action against DuPont, C8 is what they found.
The Tennants were among hundreds of industry representatives,
scientists, and other interested parties who attended an EPA hearing
on C8 in June in anticipation of enforceable consent agreements
that will provide for further scientific testing of the controversial
But while the C8 is a relatively new concern to many, it's been
an issue for the Tennants for almost 20 years.
In 1968, when the Tennants purchased 68 acres of land along West
Virginia Route 68, the nearest neighbor was half a mile away.
"We were three-quarters of a mile off the hard road,"
Jim Tennant said. "It was paradise."
In 1984 they sold an adjoining portion of
their land to DuPont and it became the Dry Run Landfill. They
moved from the location within seven months, but maintain rental
property at the site.
Jim Tennant claims a difference in the land was noticeable within
a year of the landfill acquisition.
"Shortly after, there were no minnows in the stream. There
were deer carcasses lying around, and things were dying,"
Jim Tennant said. "There were problems."
But, those weren't the only problems the family would observe.
After their herd of cattle began to die
off, they claim the family members who worked with the cattle
and lived near the farm were also becoming seriously ill.
The Tennants' losses have never been conclusively scientifically
linked to pollution from the landfill, but they believe they are
Dr. Kris Thayer, a scientist who has studied the case and interviewed
the Tennants as part of her research into PFOA for the Environmental
Working Group, a watchdog agency in Washington, D.C., said the
mysterious syndrome that struck the cattle was consistent
with what has been observed in laboratory animals exposed to C8.
"When you look at metabolic problems, that's what animals
do in laboratory studies," Thayer said. "Animals waste
away and lose weight."
... Based upon a U.S. EPA draft report entitled Dry Run Creek,
1997, which is cited in the cattle study, carnivorous, piscivorous,
omnivorous, insectivorous, and herbivorous mammals in the Dry
Run Creek study area are at increased health
risk due to exposure to metals, fluoride, and trichlorofluoromethane.
But, the conclusion of the veterinary team
was that the Tennants' herd was suffering from four major disease
entities: endophyte toxicity, pinkeye, malnutrition, and copper
deficiency. The herd health investigation revealed deficiencies
in herd management, including poor nutrition, inadequate veterinary
care, and lack of fly control, which the report said is to blame
for the cattle deaths.
The Tennants refute the report's claim that the herd wasted as
a result of poor management. The
Tennants don't blame C8 alone, but they believe it is a chemical
pollution problem. After 40 years of successful cattle ranching,
they believe it was chemical contamination that devastated
the herd within a span of 10 years.
The terms of the Tennants' settlement remain secret, and as a
result of that action, they are not eligible as class members
in the pending C8 suit.
Ohioans who live near the DuPont plant can thank a West Virginia
farmer for setting in motion a series of events that informed
the public about the C8 contamination.
Tennant and his wife, Sandra, won a legal settlement from DuPont
two years ago after they accused the company of
sickening their family and killing their cattle by dumping C8
into a landfill near their farm. When their attorney, Robert Bilott
of Cincinnati, asked the EPA to order DuPont to stop using C8,
the company sought a restraining order to prevent ''intense media
coverage'' of the request.... A federal judge rejected
the request for a restraining order...
February 16, 2003. The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio). INTERNAL
WARNINGS: Industry memos show DUPONT knew for decades that a chemical
used to make Teflon is polluting workers and neighbors.
By Michael Hawthorne.
... Our law firm has been receiving and reviewing a substantial
amount of internal correspondence and internal, unpublished reports
from DuPont and 3M concerning C-8 since the surnmer of 2000, when
our law firm began receiving C-8 documents from DuPont in connection
with discovery related to claims that C-8
being discharged from DuPont's Dry Run Landfill in Wood County,
West Virginia, was killing hundreds of head of cattle who were
drinking from the Dry Run Creek. As of today's date, we
have received and reviewed approximately 185,000 pages of documents
from DuPont and 3M relating to the toxicity and effects of C-8...
Ref: March 26, 2002, Letter from Robert
A. Bilott of Taft, Stettinius & Hollster, 425 Walnut Street,
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202; to governmental agencies.
Re: Jack W. Leach, et al. v. E.I. duPont de Nemours and Company
et al. (Circuit Court of Wood Cty. WV.
Civil Action No. 01-C-608).