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$4 billion settlement on 'forever chemicals'

 

Last updated 1/26/2021 at 2:27pm | View PDF

On Jan. 22, DuPont, Chemours and Corteva announced a cost sharing settlement of $4 billion for lawsuits involving the PFAS "forever chemicals." As a refresher, PFAS chemicals have contaminated drinking water supplies around the globe as a result of chemical companies being allowed to "self-regulate" and "do no harm" policies and allowances. Due to lack of regulations, chemical companies then took the stance of "there isn't a law/regulation stating I can't dump X chemical," so now we are all suffering the consequences through a myriad of health problems that all could have been avoidable.

Here is the following information from Environmental Working Group that has been tracking this lawsuit (ewg.org):

"For decades, these corporations have knowingly contaminated our drinking water, food supplies and the blood of virtually every person on the planet with these highly toxic chemicals," said Scott Faber, EWG's senior vice president for government affairs. "It's long past time that the polluters pay for their malicious drive toward profits over public health."

The binding memorandum of understanding establishes an immediate cost-sharing arrangement, including an escrow account worth upward of $1 billion to cover potential future legacy PFAS liabilities from before the spinoff. Under the terms of the agreement, expenses will be split 50-50, with DuPont and Corteva responsible for half and Chemours responsible for the other half. Both companies have agreed to share the costs of certain qualified expenses over a period no longer than 20 years or an amount over $4 billion.

Separately, DuPont, Corteva and Chemours have agreed to settle ongoing matters in the multidistrict PFOA litigation in Ohio for $83 million. DuPont will contribute $27 million, Corteva will contribute $27 million and Chemours will contribute $29 million to the settlement. The agreement resolves approximately 95 pending cases as well as unfiled matters.

"We are pleased to be able to resolve these personal injury claims for our clients ... in a way that provides compensation without the need for additional lengthy and expensive trials," said Robert Bilott, an attorney with Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP who is co-lead counsel for plaintiffs in the Ohio litigation.

This settlement is NOT the same litigation our community is part of for the national class action lawsuit. However, it is with the same attorney group of Taft and Hollister that Rob Bilott is a partner in, and our local McDivitt Law Firm is coordinating in our communities for the national class action lawsuit.

Here is a reminder of the most common PFAS to affect us here: PFAS = 4,700 different types of chemicals; PFOA = Teflon, non-stick PFAS that is in pans and cooking products, fast-food wrappers; PFOS = Scotchgard/water-proof products from clothing to sunscreen; PFHxS = toxic fire fighting foam, Class B foam, and the chemical that has contaminated our Widefield and adjacent drinking water supplies.

The EPA is able to successfully test for 28 PFAS chemicals at the time, and levels detected are listed as an advisory and not as an enforceable limit. Advisories are not an actionable item, and there are no regulations now either. The four legislative bills we have passed in Colorado over the last two years have led to a step in the right direction for our state to protect our drinking water systems.

I haven't had an update in awhile to all of you because there hasn't been much movement until now because state and federal legislations have been in recess or dealing with COVID. Fountain Valley Clean Water Coalition is not set to have an in-person meeting or a Zoom (virtual meeting) in the next few months, either. We are in a tracking mode since we did such amazing and strong work over the last four and a half years, that now everything is in a process of implementation. Well done everyone! Please remember to keep wearing a mask and follow health guidelines in our community; due to the PFAS contamination our health is compromised and we are at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19, and we are stronger when we continue to care about the health of each other, too.

FVCWC http://www.facebook.com/fvcwc for updates

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