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Dupont Sued Again in Pompton Lakes

In another good story by reporter Jim Oneill, today’s Bergen Record reports that another lawsuit against Dupont is making its way through the federal courts (see: Pompton Lakes plaintiffs press cases on basement vapors)

The most recent lawsuit relates to vapor intrusion, which we’ve been involved with for some time.

The case is “early in the discovery phase” – but sure to come out during discovery are internal documents showing exactly what Dupont knew and when they knew it. 

We have surmised that Dupont – as well as federal and state regulators – knew about the vapor intrusion problem LONG before disclosing it in 2008 and warning residents to take precautions.

Dupont is trying to hide behind the claim that they were in compliance with all applicable laws, and thus are not legally liable for the harms they caused:

The complaints allege that “DuPont disposed of its chemical wastes on-site by & dumping toxic and hazardous wastes into a series of unlined, wastewater lagoons and holding ponds that DuPont constructed and operated along the southern portion of the DuPont Site from at least the 1940s through the 1980s.” …

As part of its defense, DuPont argues that it “complied with the relevant state-of-the-art and/or the state of the available knowledge in its waste disposal and remediation practices,” and that the company “complied at the relevant times with federal, state, or local regulations.”

But – even by the 1940’s – Dupont knew – or should have known – that toxic chemicals disposed of in unlined lagoons would migrate through the soil, into groundwater, and cause off site impacts.

Dupont knew or should have known that those chemicals would volatilize and enter the air and nearbly buildings.

Dupont knew or should have known that those chemicals would poison people.

Let me repeat what we wrote in December in response to a huge fine US EPA levied against Dupont, to remind people of Dupont’s history (see: Dupont Fined for Coverup of Chemical Health Risks):

Let me share just one smoking gun that perfectly illustrates the evil criminality of Dupont’s corporate conduct, an excerpt from David Michael’s superb book “Doubt is Their Product – How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens Your Health“.

Michaels recalls working with medical students at Albert Einstein College, investigating workers’ health at a Bound Brook, NJ chemical plant (then known as Calco Chemicals, then American Cyanamid, now Wyeth). Michaels wrote:

“… The union members told us that the Raritan River downstream from the factory would run red some days, blue others, and green others, depending on the work product at the time. They also told us about the bladder cancers that were afflicting several of their co-workers and about their lawsuit againt Dupont, which produced the chemicals then used in the manufacture of the dyes. These chemicals are known generically as aromatic amines …  The workers’ lawsuits had ended abruptly some years earlier, when Dupont’s lawyers produced a letter dated 1947 from a medical director for the company warning the medical director of Calco of the hazards on beta-Naphthylamine (BNA), one of the chemicals in question. The workers’ attorney told them Dupont would have been legally liable only if it had known or should have known of the risks posed by BNA and then failed to tell its customers. Since it had warned Calco of the dangers, their attorneys explained, Dupont was off the legal hook, and under workers’ compensation laws, workers are barred from suing their employer. The men with bladder cancer would have to settle for workers’ compensation payments, which would cover their medical bills and only a portion of their lost wages, with no payments for pain and suffering.

One of the workers gave us a copy of the Dupont letter, which contains information that, to my knowledge, had never been made public. The second paragraph begins this way: “The question of health control of employees in the manufacture of BNA is indeed a grave one. As you know, we have manufactured BNA for many years. Of the original group, who began the production of this product , approximately 100% have developed tumors of the bladder.” (page 19-20 – emphases supplied).

Sadly, that tells you about all you need to know about the Dupont Corporation.

So here’s to a real Merry Christmas to all the good folks over at Dupont.

Yes, it is sad – and sickening.

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