Five Delaware companies have been directed by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to contribute millions of dollars toward environmental cleanup efforts. According to the agency, Chemours, 3M, Dow DuPont, DuPont, and Solvay have been contaminating drinking water in different parts of New Jersey for years. The funds will go toward assessing the pollution, as well as the remediation.
Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) substances have been used to produce plastics for over 60 years in products such as water-resistant clothes, waxes, cleaning products, stain-resistant upholstery finishing, and non-stick cookware. Familiar brand names that use PFAS include Gore-Tex, Teflon, Scotchgard, and Stainmaster. PFAS substances are manufactured in plants all over the country.
PFOA and GenX, two Teflon chemicals, are linked to thyroid disease, hypertension, and certain cancers. Studies have shown that one in five residents receive tap water with traces of at least one PFAS substance; drinking water in Blades, Dover, and New Castle, Delaware have shown signs of this contamination.
Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe emphasized that the companies have been contaminating the state’s water and creating serious health risks. She added that the companies will be held accountable for their actions. NJDEP’s directive mandates that the companies provide detailed information about the usage and discharge of PFAS, including air emissions, wastewater plants, chemical development, manufacturing, and sales.
A spokesperson from DuPont said that they received the directive and plan to work along with the NJDEP to understand how it will be carried out. DuPont stopped using PFOA about 10 years ago and replaced it with the GenX product. Their spin-off company, Chemours, now handles fluoroproduct operations, which includes GenX. Their response was similar, stating that they plan to work with the NJDEP.
Chemours was previously under intense media scrutiny over their use of GenX; the product was discovered in an area river that produces drinking water for 200,000 residents in North Carolina. The CEO stated that the company does not feel that GenX poses a health risk to the public. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking steps to address the PFAS contamination. However, New Jersey’s cleanup process could take many years.
If your drinking water supply has been threatened, the Wilmington environmental lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. can help. Call us at 302-656-5445 or contact us online for a free case evaluation today. With offices in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware, we represent clients in Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.