On November 21, 2018, North Carolina environmental officials announced a proposed settlement between the Department of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”), Cape Fear River Watch, and Chemours. According to the State’s press release, the proposed consent order outlines a comprehensive resolution regarding per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (“PFAS”) contamination originating from Chemours’ Fayetteville Works facility. It requires Chemours to dramatically reduce toxic water and air emissions, provide permanent replacement drinking water supplies for adjoining residents, and pay a $12 million civil penalty to DEQ.
The proposed consent order may be found here.
The settlement will not affect lawsuits brought by class action plaintiffs or public utilities.
Whiteman Law Firm, along with several other firms, is representing plaintiffs in class action lawsuits against DuPont and Chemours for environmental contamination of the air and water in southeastern North Carolina. In these lawsuits, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants discharged toxic chemicals from their chemical production facility near Fayetteville, North Carolina into the surrounding air and water. The plant produces chemicals that are used to make non-stick coatings for cookware and other consumer products. Plaintiffs alleged that DuPont and Chemours knew that this family of chemicals is dangerous, but nevertheless dumped these chemicals into the air and water to avoid the expense of taking appropriate safety precautions, while misleading regulators about the nature of their discharges.
Scientists have found GenX and other PFAS chemicals in the Cape Fear River, in wells located adjacent to the Chemours facility, and in air samples.
On November 14, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued draft toxicity assessments for GenX chemicals and PFBS. According to the EPA’s Fact Sheet, animal studies have shown that GenX causes adverse health effects in the liver, kidney, blood, and immune systems and in developing fetuses, and studies of PFBS have shown health effects on the thyroid, reproductive organs and tissues, and kidneys and in developing fetuses.
The EPA’s draft guideline for exposure to GenX, 80 parts per trillion, is lower than the health goal of 140 parts per trillion issued by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. In contrast, in June 2017 scientists working for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality found concentrations of GenX of between 421 ppt and 1100 ppt at four locations along the Cape River.
According to the EPA’s press release, following the closure of a 60-day public comment period, the EPA will consider the comments, revise the draft documents, as appropriate, and then publish final toxicity assessments.
Please contact Whiteman Law Firm for more information.