News Feature | November 3, 2017

Lawyer Who Defended Flint Now Takes On GenX Contamination

Peter Chawaga - editor

By Peter Chawaga, Associate Editor, Water Online

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Those who regularly follow drinking water contamination headlines may have noticed that coverage of perflourinated compound (PFC) and GenX issues this year has taken the place of last year’s lead crisis in Flint, MI.

So it is only fitting that a pivotal figure in Flint’s pursuit of justice has now taken up the fight against GenX in North Carolina.

“A lead lawyer spearheading the litigation over the Flint water crisis has brought a class action over drinking water contamination that allegedly has exposed residents in five counties to live cancer and other health risks,” The National Law Journal reported. “The suit claims both companies [E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. and The Chemours Co.], which make Teflon, created a public health crisis when they dumped several chemicals into the Cape Fear River for decades from a plant in Fayetteville, North Carolina — then hid their actions from federal and state regulators.”

The complaint alleges that DuPont spent over 45 years discharging toxic contaminants into water sources that serve hundreds of thousands of people. It is seeking more than $1 billion in compensatory and punitive damages.

This is not the first time DuPont has found itself charged with harming North Carolinians with GenX.

“The lawsuit … is at least the fourth case accusing the Chemours Co. of harm by dumping the chemical GenX and related flouring-based products into the Cape Fear River,” per the Chicago Tribune. “

But Ted Leopold, the lawyer who fought against Flint’s contamination, believes this suit to be different.

“Leopold called his case ‘much more substantive in nature’ when it comes to the ‘actual testing of homes, water heaters, the filtration of the water itself,’” according to The National Law Journal. “The named plaintiff, Victoria Carey, claims she was diagnosed with thyroid nodules and idiopathic immune condition after finding excessive levels of the chemicals in her water.”

To read more about the rules around chemical discharge visit Water Online’s Wastewater Regulations And Legislation Solutions Center.

Image credit: "Court," waterlogged sunshine, 2012, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/