January 25, 2022

For several weeks now Chemours, a chemical maker that owns a manufacturing plant outside Fayetteville, has been running a 30-second commercial throughout Southeastern North Carolina touting itself as a good neighbor.

The ad, titled “Good Neighbors Care,” exudes the idea of being neighborly and caring for one another. The commercial starts by stating "good neighbors care and at Chemours we care," because as the narrator states North Carolina is Chemours' home (despite Chemours being headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware).

Images of nature and employees hard at work paint this picturesque scene as the narrator explains that Chemours cares about its neighbors and the environment, which is why the company has invested $100 million in new technology and set a goal to reduce PFAS emissions by 99%.

But the commercial has “infuriated” residents, environmental groups, local public utilities and state officials because they say Chemours is anything but a good neighbor, and the commercial is completely inaccurate, they say.

The commercial omits the fact that Chemours, and before it DuPont, dumped toxic chemicals into the Cape Fear River for nearly 40 years, contaminating the drinking water of more than 300,000 of their supposed neighbors.

The entire commercial is an attempt by Chemours to create a new, misleading narrative around what's happened to the Cape Fear River, said Ted Leopold, an attorney representing property owners in Fayetteville, Wilmington and throughout Southeastern North Carolina in a class-action lawsuit against Chemours and DuPont.

"The commercial talks about Chemours being a good corporate citizen, but the evidence is just the opposite," Leopold said. "Both they and DuPont have for years and years been silently contaminating the Cape Fear River with highly toxic chemicals, and instead of stepping up and taking responsibility, they're trying to cover it up."

Chemours can claim it's one of many contributors to the Cape Fear River, and that it cares about the environment, but where was that belief 40 years ago when it and its predecessor DuPont began dumping toxic chemicals into the Cape Fear River, Leopold said.

Chemours itself had to research what PFAS chemicals are present in the Cape Fear River due to the court order, Leopold said. It found more than 250 substances present in the river water, but it couldn't identify many of them, despite the chemicals coming from its Fayetteville Works plant.

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