Louisville, Kentucky faces the same problem as many municipalities when it comes to its water supply: traces of PFOA, or C8, the Dupont chemical used in the production of Teflon, implicated in a wide range of health problems. Like Parkersville, West Virginia, where Dupont's Washington Works Plant is located, Louisville is located on the banks of the Ohio River – into which 23 million pounds of toxic chemicals were dumped in 2013 alone.
Troubles aren't over for corporate polluter DuPont, which has faced thousands of lawsuits over its toxic product, PFOA, or “C8.” The federal judge overseeing multi-district litigation in Columbus, Ohio, has ordered the company to turn over documents related to a case of C8 pollution near its factory in Dordrecht, Netherlands.
A new report from the National Toxicology Program (NTP) confirms what some scientists and victims of C-8 exposure have been saying for years, that the chemical is hazardous to the human immune system. The recently released review found emissions of both perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), or C-8, and its close cousin, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), have been reduced, but remain widespread throughout the United States.
Current lawsuits against chemical giant DuPont allege that its executives were aware of the toxicity of C8 for at least thirty years. However, their suspicions about the company's flagship product go back much further than that. According to information gleaned from internal company reports, scientists and senior executives, DuPont suspected there was something very wrong as early as the 1950s. Furthermore, the company's actions since that time cross the line from civil wrongdoing to criminal conduct.
Éleuthère Irénée du Pont de Nemours started out as the sole manufacturer of gunpowder and explosives to the Crown in late 18th-Century France, the son of minor nobility. Their connection to royalty did not serve the DuPont family well in the wake of the French Revolution. Fleeing to the United States in 1799, DuPont established a new company. Over the next two centuries, Éleuthère's descendants and the company he founded have achieved levels of wealth, power and influence that his father (personal physician to King Louis XV's mistress, Madame de Pompadour) could not have imagined.