In early October 2015, a jury awarded $1.6 million to Carla Bartlett after attorneys presented ample evidence to prove that a kidney tumor that Ms. Bartlett had developed was a result of ingesting a chemical known as C8. The chemical was discharged into the Ohio River by DuPont, and it was used for decades as a chemical in the development of Teflon.
Ring of Fire co-host Mike Papantonio served as lead counsel for this case, which was the first of more than 3,500 tried against DuPont’s dumping of the toxic chemical in the coming years. Ring of Fire has more:
The Plaintiff Carla M. Bartlett, 59, of Guysville in Athens County is among 3,500 people who say they became ill because the DuPont dumped C8, the chemical used to make Teflon, into the Ohio River and their drinking water from its Washington Works plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia. The trial began on September 14.
Both sides made their closing arguments yesterday and jurors deliberated briefly. Plaintiff’s lawyer Mike Papantonio and co-counsel Gary Douglas used DuPont internal memos to argue that the company knew since the 1980s that C8 was a cancer risk.
The company, they said, showed “conscious disregard” for Ohio and West Virginia residents by not revealing, and later downplaying, the effects of C8 — perfluorooctanoate — emissions in the drinking water and air. Bartlett’s attorneys displayed the memos on a large screen. One read: “Is there a strategy we can use to minimize the amount of information being disseminated?”
And on its toxicity:
C8 has been connected specifically to six diseases: ulcerative colitis; pregnancy-induced hypertension; high cholesterol; thyroid disease; testicular cancer; and kidney cancer. The C8 Science Panel concluded that C8 uniquely affects the entire body of those exposed, no matter the level of exposure.
One of the main worries that Americans should have with C8 is its biopersistence, meaning that the chemical does not break down organically and can be present in the body for decades (along with remaining in the environment indefinitely.)
DuPont knew the chemical was toxic and that it was linked to cancers, but they continued dumping it into the Ohio River where it spread to nearby aquifers for over 40 years. And now that they are facing thousands of lawsuits, they’ve decided to replace C8 with a new chemical known as C6.
But don’t get optimistic – as Sharon Lerner points out at The Intercept, C6 is also being linked to cancer.
Last week I had the opportunity to interview Lerner for Ring of Fire, and you can watch that interview below: