DuPont settles lawsuits over Teflon-making chemical leak

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By Arathy S Nair

<span class="articleLocation”>DuPont and Chemours Co said on
Monday they had agreed to pay about $671 million in cash to
settle several lawsuits related to the leak of a toxic chemical,
used to make Teflon, that has been linked to cancer and other
diseases.

The company said it settled about 3,550 personal injury
claims arising from the leak of perfluorooctanoic acid, also
known as PFOA or C-8, from DuPont’s plant in Parkersburg, West
Virginia.

The leak allegedly contaminated local water supplies and has
been linked to six diseases, including testicular and kidney
cancers.

DuPont has used C-8 at the West Virginia plant since the
early 1950s.

Chemours Co, which was spun off from DuPont to house
its performance chemicals segment, said it will pay half of the
settlement. Both companies denied any wrongdoing.

“We look forward to working with DuPont to finalize this
settlement and get these injured class members paid as quickly
as possible,” Rob Bilott, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in a
statement.

The settlement comes ahead of DuPont’s planned $130 billion
merger with Dow Chemical Co, which is due to close later
this year.

In 2001, residents brought a class action against DuPont
over C-8 exposure. The company agreed in 2004 to fund medical
monitoring programs and install new water treatment systems.

DuPont convened a panel of scientists to determine whether
any diseases were linked to C-8. The panel concluded that there
was a probable link between C-8 and six diseases: kidney and
testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease,
pregnancy-induced hypertension and high cholesterol.

Members of the class action lawsuit, suffering from one of
the diseases, then individually sued DuPont. The company agreed
not to challenge whether C-8 can cause those diseases, but
plaintiffs still must prove it is to blame for their individual
illnesses.

In October 2015, a U.S. jury awarded a kidney cancer patient
$1.6 million after finding DuPont was liable for the leak. This
was seen as the first bellwether case.

Chemours shares were up 10.2 percent at $31 in premarket
trading. DuPont shares were little changed.



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