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.