DuPont C8 Lawsuits
The lawsuit involving C8 alleged that DuPont released millions of pounds of the chemical into the Ohio River and into the air from its plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia, causing thousands of persons to suffer injuries, including kidney and testicular cancer, and ulcerative colitis.
If you are also interested in the lawsuits involving perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), please review our PFAS Lawsuit page.
More than 30 years ago DuPont became aware that C8 was in drinking water in Ohio and West Virginia at dangerous levels, yet said nothing to the government or public. In fact, it increased its production, and continued to discharge the chemical in a manner to enter the Ohio River and air.
There were six water districts in West Virginia and Ohio that became contaminated by C8. In Ohio, they included the Little Hocking Water Association; the City of Belpre Tuppers Plains – Chester Water District; and the Village of Pomeroy.
In West Virginia, they included the Lubeck Public Service District, and the Mason County Public Service District. Additionally, numerous private water wells located within a certain distance of the six water districts were contaminated.
What is the Purpose of C8
C8 (also known as Perfluorooctanoic (PFOA)) is a man-made chemical known as a “surfactant” because it is very slippery and reduces the surface tension of water.
It is used in the manufacturing of Teflon, fast food wrappers, waterpoof clothing, pizza boxes, microwave popcorn bags, carpet, dental floss, cosmetics, and hundreds of other products.
DuPont began using the chemical in 1951 as a means to smooth out the lumps in Teflon, even though its chief toxicologist at the time warned that it was toxic.
C8 Injuries & Side Effects
As part of a class action settlement against DuPont, an independent group of public health scientists were chosen to assess whether or not there is a probable link between C8 exposure and various diseases.
The science panel consisted of Dr. Tony Fletcher of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Dr. David Savitz of Brown University in Providence; and Dr. Kyle Steenland of Emory University in Atlanta.
After conducting eight years of exposure and health studies, the science panel reached the following conclusions:
|Injuries Linked to C8 Exposure|
|High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia)|
|Pregnancy-induced hypertension (including preeclampsia)|
C8 has been so widely used in America for so long that it can be found in the blood of more than 99% of all Americans, newborn human babies, breast milk, and umbilical cord blood according to the Centers for Disease Control. It is expected to remain in the environment for thousands of years.
The safe level of human C8 exposure is not known. The EPA has put the figure at 0.07 parts per billion. Other scientists believe concentrations as low as 0.0003 parts per billion can be life threatening.
A medical monitoring program has been established for individuals potentially injured by C8. The program allows you to get a free blood test and free doctor's visit to determine whether you have suffered any diseases that could be caused by C8 exposure. To determine whether you are qualified for medical testing, visit DuPont C8 Medical Monitoring Program
DuPont C8 Settlements & Compensation
On February 13, 2017, a global settlement in the amount of $670 million was reached with our team of lawyers and DuPont. The settlement covers all of the C8 cases that were filed in federal court as of that date where the plaintiff suffered from a covered physical injury resulting from C8 being dumped into the Ohio River and into the air from the DuPont plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia.
This settlement does not prevent individuals injured by C8 from pursuing their own action if they did not receive compensation in the settlement, or if they later suffer a more serious injury arising from C8 that they were not compensated for in the settlement.
It is crucial if you have suffered injuries as a result of C8 exposure that you immediately seek legal help in order to preserve your rights. This is because every state has time limitations in which you can file a lawsuit for any injuries that you have sustained or could sustain resulting from C8 exposure.
DuPont's Knowledge Revealed in C8 Court Documents
As part of the national litigation involving C8, our team of attorneys discovered the following facts and statements in DuPont internal documents. You can only imagine what has not been turned over and was destroyed.
|1961, Nov. 9||DuPont Chief of Toxicology says C8 is toxic, causes enlargement of livers in rats, and should be "handled with extreme care".|
|1962, Feb. 9||DuPont discovers C8 exposure linked to the enlargement of rats' testis, adrenal glands, and kidneys.|
|1978, Sept. 28||DuPont determines that employees working around C8 had higher rates of abnormal liver function tests.|
|1979, Sept. 4||DuPont finds out that monkeys died when exposed to certain levels of C8.|
|1981, Apr. 6||DuPont requires all female employees out of the Teflon division after 2 of 7 pregnant workers gave birth to children with birth defects, and industry studies determined a relationship between C8 and birth defects.|
|1982, Nov. 23||DuPont medical director writes: "I recommend that available practical steps be taken to reduce this exposure. . . . C-8 is retained in the blood for a long time, creating concern in other areas such as blood donations, . . . There is obviously great potential for current or future exposure of members of the local community from emissions leaving the Plant perimeter.”|
|1983||In a two year feeding study, C8 caused testicular tumors in rats. The mechanism of action was considered to be potentially relevant to humans.|
|1983, Oct. 28||DuPont scientists express concern with the amount of C8 being discharged into the Ohio River, and the concentrations of C8 being discharged into the atmosphere outside the plant boundaries.|
|1984, May 23||A DuPont meeting is called to discuss the continuing production of C8. ”There was a consensus reached that the issue which will decide future action [in regard to C8] is one of corporate image, and corporate liability. Liability was further defined as the incremental liability from this point on if we do nothing as we are already liable for the past 32 years of operation. . . . Currently, none of the options developed are, from a fine powder business standpoint, economically attractive and would essentially put the long term viability of this business segment on the line.”|
|1984, Aug. 6||DuPont discovers C8 in the drinking water at dangerous levels, yet doesn't tell the government or public, instead increases production and discharge|
|1986, June 25||DuPont internal document: “I am concerned about possible [C8] contamination of the Washington Bottom aquifer, which is used not only by DuPont but also by neighboring industrial sites and the Lubeck Public Service District.”|
|1986, Oct. 20||DuPont internal document: “Wilmington management is concerned about the possible liability resulting from long term C8 exposure to our employees and to the population in the surrounding communities and those down river from the Plant. Since we don’t know the ultimate effect of C8 on the human body and that the potential liability resulting from C8 exposure is large, it seems prudent to minimize the release of C8 to the environment.”|
|1988, March 24||DuPont internally classifies C8 as ‘c’ which indicates “possible human carcinogen”|
|1989, Mar. 15||DuPont internal document: "Due to concern around the persistence of C-8 in blood, Dr. Karrh restated his position that we should continue to place high priority to reduce the general public’s exposure to C-8”|
|1991, Oct. 4||DuPont researchers recommend a study of workers' liver enzymes. DuPont cites to potential liability with doing it, and decides: "Do the study after we are sued." DuPont did not perform the study until 2012.|
|1992, Feb. 20||DuPont internal document: “Legal thinks toxicity issues associated with C-8 could turn it into the #1 DuPont tort issue.”|
|1993, Sept.||DuPont internal document: "Ten years of employment in the [C8] Chemical Division was associated with an estimated 3.3-fold increase in prostate cancer mortality."|
|1993, Sept. 23||Additional animal studies show C8 causes tumors to form in the testes, liver, and pancreas.|
|1995, Feb. 21||DuPont internal document: "We are concerned about the potential long term human health effects of these materials considering they all appear to have long biological half lives."|
|1998, Oct. 5||DuPont in-house lawyer writes: “[C8] seems to get everywhere, to include drinking water, and then want to stay in human blood.”|
|1999, Aug. 22||DuPont in-house attorney writes: “We really should not let situation arise like this, we should have used a commercial landfill and let them deal with these issues, instead, the plant tries to save some money and apparently did not consider how it might look that this guy’s cows are drinking the rainwater that has percolated through our waste.”|
|1999, Nov. 15||3M, the manufacturer of C8, performs a study on monkeys and determines that even modest exposure to C8 can have devastating health effects. 3M notifies the EPA and DuPont of its conclusion, and 3M decides to stops producing the chemical. DuPont then decides to begin manufacturing C8.|
|2000, Aug. 13||DuPont in-house lawyer writes: "The [expletive] is about to hit the fan in WV, the lawyer for the farmer finally realizes the surfactant [C8] issue, he is threatening to go to the press to embarrass us to pressure us to settle for big bucks. [Expletive] him. Finally the plant recognizes it must get public first, something I have been urging for over a year, better late than never, we are hoping plaintiff does not get there the next couple days, we need about a week. We boned ourselves again, such is life in big and I suspect little companies."|
|2000, Nov. 9||DuPont internal document: “We are going to spend millions to defend these lawsuits and have the additional threat of punitive damages hanging over our head. . . . Our story is not a good one, we continued to increase our emissions into the river in spite of internal commitments to reduce or eliminate the release of this chemical into the community and the environment.”|
|2001, March 14||DuPont in-house attorney writes: "The attorney in our WV case sent an 18 page letter to all the agencies laying out his version of our sins. . . . I can tell my client ‘I told you so’, but that is small pleasure, pretty sad and they are so clueless – guess they think folks like to drink our stuff."|
|2001, Apr. 8||DuPont in-house lawyer writes: "[C8] is the material 3M sells us that we poop to the river and into drinking water, along the Ohio River"|
|2001, May 7||DuPont in-house attorney writes: "Got a call about 2130 when in bed last night from one of our engineers worrying about our technique for measuring surfactant [C8] at Parkersburg. We learned recently that our analytical technique has very poor recovery, often 25%, so any result we get should be multiplied by a factor of 4 or even 5. However, that has not been the practice, so we have been telling the agencies results that surely are low. Not a pretty situation, especially since we have been telling the drinking water folks not to worry."|
|2001, Aug. 9||DuPont in-house lawyer writes: "We also learned that not only do we have people drinking our famous surfactant [C8], but levels in the ambient air above our guidelines . . . we should have checked this years ago and taken steps to remedy."|
|2001, Oct. 7||A DuPont scientist warns that C8 is so hard to deal with that "it might require the public to wear 'gas masks'"|
|2001, Oct. 12||DuPont in-house attorne writes: "A debacle at best, the business did not want to deal with this issue in the 1990s, and now it is in their face, and some still are clueless. Very poor leadership, the worst I have seen in the face of a serious issue since I have been with DuPont.”|
|2001, Oct. 13||DuPont in-house lawyer writes: “Had a good meeting with EPA Friday, we told them we are getting drinking water concentrations this coming Thursday using a new test method and they better fasten their seat belts, we expect readings way above what our old method was getting . . . . I go to Charleston Monday for a meeting Tuesday with WV regulators, we are also trying to convince them there is no emergency. They have drafted an order requiring us to figure out everywhere we have contaminated, to include from our stacks, plus commission a study of the health impacts of this material. We are especially grateful for the latter, so far only DuPont has been saying there are safe levels, we need to have an independent agency agree, we are hoping it would actually agree to higher levels than we have saying, if for no other reason than we are exceeding the levels we say we set as our own guideline, mostly because no one bothered to do the air modeling until now, and our water test has completely inadequate (until next week). I have been telling the business to out all the bad news, it is nice that we are now consulting with lawyers who are the best in the nation and have defended cases like ours that they are advising the same strategy. Too bad the business wants to hunker down as though everything will not come out in the litigation, god knows how they could be so clueless, don’t they read the paper or go to the movies??”|
|2001, Nov. 13||DuPont in-house attorney writes: “The business finally has decided that there is nowhere to hide so is becoming more aggressively responsible and open, that is a good thing that I have consistently been urging. If they were more savyy they could have figured that out for themselves long ago, better late than never.”|
|2002, Jan.12||DuPont in-house lawyer writes: "We learned late last week that the water supply in Little Hocking, Ohio, across the river from our Parkersburg plant, has levels of our surfactant [C8] 7 times higher than our guideline, so that is bad news."|
|2002, Mar. 09||DuPont in-house attorney writes: "Mostly more bad news with the Parkersburg surfactant [C8] in drinking water, the crap is everywhere."|
|2003, April 29||DuPont consultant writes: "The constant theme which permeates our recommendations on the issues faced by DuPont is that DUPONT MUST SHAPE THE DEBATE AT ALL LEVELS. We must implement a strategy at the outset which discourages governmental agencies, the plaintiff’s bar, and misguided environmental groups from pursuing this matter any further than the current risk assessment contemplated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the matter pending in West Virginia. We strive to end this now."|
|2005, Dec. 14||DuPont paid the EPA $16.5 million for concealing evidence of the harm of C8 for more than 20 years.|
C8 Lawsuit News
DuPont to pay $670 million to settle C8 lawsuits
DuPont and its spinoff company Chemours will pay $670 million to settle a decades-old battle over C8, a chemical it used to make Teflon, and which has been linked to a host of health problems including cancer. Published in The Columbus Dispatch - C8 $670 Million Settlement
Order expands required C8 testing area
The 0.07 ppb threshold is the new lifetime exposure level the EPA issued last year, based on protection for the sensitive populations of fetuses during pregnancy and breastfed infants. That announcement resulted in a Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department advisory not to drink public water in Vienna, where levels tested above 0.1 ppb in most of the city’s wells. Published in The Parkersburg News - Expanded C8 Testing Areas
Jury awards $10.5 million in punitive damages in DuPont cancer case
Jurors who awarded an Ohio man $10.5 million in punitive damages Thursday apparently heeded his attorney’s call to punish DuPont for causing his cancer, and to send a message to corporate America. Published in The Columbus Dispatch - C8 Jury Awards Punitive Damages
Federal jury returns $2M verdict in third DuPont C8 case
A federal jury has returned a $2 million verdict against DuPont in the third of 3,500 cases charging that DuPont knowingly contaminated drinking water at its facility near Parkersburg. The verdict included damages from DuPont's negligence and a finding that the company’s conduct was malicious. The malicious ruling allows the jury to consider a possible punitive damages verdict in addition to the compensatory damages. The punitive damage phase of the trial will begin Jan. 4. Published in West Virginia Record - $2 Million C8 Verdict
DuPont ordered to pay $5.1 million in trial over Teflon-making chemical
A U.S. jury on Wednesday ordered DuPont to pay $5.1 million to a man who said he developed testicular cancer from exposure to a toxic chemical used to make Teflon at one of its plants, according to a DuPont spokesman. Published in Reuters - DuPont C8 $5 Million Trial
The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare
Just months before Rob Bilott made partner at Taft Stettinius & Hollister, he received a call on his direct line from a cattle farmer. The farmer, Wilbur Tennant of Parkersburg, W.Va., said that his cows were dying left and right. He believed that the DuPont chemical company, which until recently operated a site in Parkersburg that is more than 35 times the size of the Pentagon, was responsible. Tennant had tried to seek help locally, he said, but DuPont just about owned the entire town. Published in The New York Times Magazine - DuPont C8 Nightmare
Welcome to Beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia: Home to one of the most brazen, deadly corporate gambits in U.S. history.
In August 2000, Bilott came across a single paper that mentioned the presence of a little-known substance called perfluorooctanoic acid in Dry Run Creek. Bilott requested more information on the chemical, which is often called C8 and is found in thousands of household products, including carpeting, Teflon pans, waterproof clothes, dental floss, kitty litter and cosmetics. Unbeknownst to Bilott, his inquiry triggered a panic inside DuPont’s Delaware headquarters. "The [expletive] is about to hit the fan in WV,” the company’s in-house attorney, Bernard J. Reilly, wrote in an email to his colleagues. “The lawyer for the farmer finally realizes the surfactant [C8] issue . . .[expletive] him”. Published in The Huffington Post - Parkersburg, West Virginia C8 Contamination
DuPont Will Be Back in Court Sooner Than Most Chemours Investors Know
Last week a major new jury verdict in the C-8 multidistrict litigation against DuPont was issued. Ultimately, Chemours securities are up after the week’s events but dropped initially on July 6 after a jury found DuPont liable for punitive damages (the amount of which the jury still needed to determine) and $5.1 million in compensatory damages for causing David Freeman ’s testicular cancer. The debt and equity rebounded almost completely after Chemours signaled to investors that night that there would be no more jury trials – and resultantly no more bad news of jury verdicts – until May 2017 when 40 cancer cases are scheduled to be tried in the MDL. Still, investors in Chemours awaited what multiple of the $5.1 million in compensatory damages the jury might grant for punitive damages, and sent the company’s securities above pre-verdict levels on July 8 when, after one day of testimony, the jury awarded a tenth in punitive damages of what they awarded in compensatory damages. Published in Forbes - DuPont & Chemours in Court
DuPont and the Chemistry of Deception
Several blockbuster discoveries, including nylon, Lycra, and Tyvek, helped transform the E. I. du Pont de Nemours company from a 19th-century gunpowder mill into “one of the most successful and sustained industrial enterprises in the world,” as its corporate website puts it. Indeed, in 2014, the company reaped more than $95 million in sales each day. Perhaps no product is as responsible for its dominance as Teflon, which was introduced in 1946, and for more than 60 years C8 was an essential ingredient of Teflon. Published in The Intercept - DuPont C8 Deception
The Case Against DuPont
What he received made it clear that even as the company had been pleading ignorance over what might possibly have killed Tennant’s cows, some DuPont employees were very well aware that C8 had seeped into local water. In fact, company scientists had been charting its presence in the Ohio River and nearby drinking water for almost two decades, and had been documenting its health effects since 1954, just three years after DuPont first used the chemical in one of its signature brands: Teflon. Published in The Intercept - The DuPont C8 Case
How DuPont Slipped Past the EPA
During the five decades in which DuPont used and profited from C8, the company had only infrequently discussed the chemical with environmental authorities, and it kept most of its extensive internal research on the chemical confidential. After Bilott sent out his packages of evidence, however, DuPont’s relationships to government agencies shifted dramatically. Bilott’s revelations had the power to tarnish the company’s reputation and lead to huge legal and cleanup costs, so DuPont focused on weathering the scrutiny of regulators and keeping its name — and profits — unscathed. Published in The Intercept - DuPont Misleads EPA in C8
Teflon’s Toxic Legacy
Proving that DuPont was legally culpable for Bartlett’s kidney cancer required years of extraordinarily innovative lawyering – and at times some plain dumb luck. The very improbability of that verdict demonstrates much that is flawed about the way this country regulates potentially dangerous chemicals. With no mandatory safety testing for the vast majority of the tens of thousands of chemicals used daily in America, doctors and public health officials have little information to guide them as they seek to identify potential health hazards – including the chemical, called C8, that DuPont knowingly allowed to pollute Bartlett’s drinking water. Published in Earth Island Journal - The Toxicity of Teflon
People Are Still Exposed To the Teflon Chemical At Unsafe Levels, Group Says
It’s been more than a decade since investigations revealed that Teflon contained a consumer chemical called PFOA that was linked to birth defects, heart disease and other health issues, but the safety of the chemical is far from settled. PFOA is dangerous at concentrations far lower than previously recognized, according to a recent investigation. Published in Time Magazine - Teflon Chemical Exposure
Despite Clear Dangers, DuPont Kept Using a Toxic Chemical
In the case of PFOA, DuPont brazenly dumped its toxic waste into a creek that ran through a pasture where farmers grazed and watered their cows, causing grotesque malformations and deaths among the animals. Meanwhile, the company hid evidence that the chemical had contaminated the local water supply well beyond what the company’s own scientists considered safe and far beyond what independent scientists considered safe. Published in The New York Times Magazine - DuPont C8 Toxic Chemical
Scientific Studies Regarding C8
Probable Link Evaluation of Cancer: there is a probable link between exposure to C8 and testicular cancer and kidney cancer. To read more, click Dupont C8 Cancer Science Panel
Probable Link Evaluation of High Cholesterol: there is a probable link between exposure to C8 and diagnosed high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia). To read more, click Dupont C8 High Cholesterol Science Panel
Probable Link Evaluation of Pregnancy Induced Hypertension and Preeclampsia: there is a probable link between exposure to C8 and pregnancy-induced hypertension. To read more, click Dupont C8 Pregnancy Induced Hypertension and Preeclampsia Science Panel
Probable Link Evaluation of Thyroid Disease: there is a probable link between exposure to C8 and thyroid disease. To read more, click Dupont C8 Thyroid Disease Science Panel
Probable Link Evaluation of Ulcerative Colitis: there is a probable link between exposure to C8 and ulcerative colitis. To read more, click Dupont C8 Ulcerative Colitis Science Panel
C8 Recall Information
As of January 2019, there had not been a recall of C8. However, an independent science panel consisting of three epidemiologists determined that the chemical can cause high cholesterol, kidney cancer, pregnancy-induced hypertension, testicular cancer, thyroid disease, and ulcerative colitis.
Important Court Rulings Regarding C8
Below are a few of the important rulings that have been made to date in the C8 litigation. To view other publicly available rulings, visit C8 MDL Rulings.
- 2014, December 17: Order on Class Membership and Causation
- 2015, October 1: Order on Defendant's Motions for Summary Judgment as a Matter of Law on Punitive Damages
- 2016, February 17: Order on Defendant’s Motion for Judgment as a Matter of Law or, Alternatively, for a New Trial and Remittitur
- 2016, April 29: Order on Defendant's Motions for Summary Judgment Related to Punitive Damages